09 April 2010

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Strategic phoniness + job offers

strategic phoniness

Strategic phoniness, the theme of this Sunday's meeting is obviously
linked to some serious deception or straightforward lying.

In the meantime, Brian sent me some notes on: ON BULLSHIT by Harry
Frankfort's (2005) (Princeton University Press), which I am including
with this email. I have not been able to write anything on the topic
although like most of you I had my share of BS this week.

In the meantime Dolores has these two vacancies to fill:

Este correo lo estoy enviando a los amigos. He pensado que debido a la
actual situación laboral, no estaría de más ayudar al hijo/a de algún
conocido vuestro.

En la actualidad tengo que cubrir estos dos puestos con suma urgencia:

Administrativo Bilingüe Junior, con muy buenos conocimientos de Visual
Basic y SQL, inglés alto, o por lo menos, capaz de hacer reportes en
inglés. Con experiencia en tablas dinámicas y macros en Excel, dominio
de Access. Tiene que ser chico, y no mayor de 27-28 años. Contrato
INDEFINIDO, salario 24.000 brutos/año, lugar de trabajo Las Rozas,
(Dpto. Financiero de empresa multinacional). Prefiero a alguien de FP,
no licenciado. No importa que no tenga mucha experiencia, pero sí son
importantes el nivel de inglés y los conocimientos de informática.

Analista Financiero Bilingüe. El nivel de inglés debe ser muy alto. Es
un puesto temporal de aproximadamente un año, sin posibilidades de
incorporación (2 sustituciones por maternidad). Lugar de trabajo Arturo
Soria, (Dpto. Financiero de empresa multinacional). Salario en torno a
los 23.000 - 24.000 brutos/año.


Un abrazo,

Maria Dolores Sanz / Slayton & Miller / ITSA-GES / Calle Puerto de los
Leones, 1, 28220 Madrid / Tel.: 91 634 6141 / Fax: 91 639 3822 /
d.sanz@itsages.com / d.sanz@slaytonmiller.com

NOTES sent by Brian:


¿Que tal?

Here are some notes that I have previously composed for a course and
that address a monograph by a professional philsopher, Harry Frankfort.
The notes are on the concept of "bullshit". As you can see, bullshit is
relevant to the notion of "strategic phoniness" that may in turn help
you write an essay or sheppard discussion on Sunday.

Best regards,

Notes on Harry Frankfort's (2005)

ON BULLSHIT (Princeton University Press)

What is a "bull session"?

-Archaic phrase actually and a little bourgeoisie

-But idea is that one argues, tries out postures, not necessarily what
one believes to play devil's advocate –-> try out how it feels to say
given things an see how other people respond to it

-Understood in the bull session that a person is not necessarily
representing their actual views

-Hence it is distinct from "bullshit"(or, "BS")

-BSer does not lie -- but is being fake

-BSer is not false -- but is phony

-Observes that being inauthentic is not to be inferior, not a judgement
on this score –> a copy can be an exact copy and as good for all intents
and purposes

-But, the issue is how it was made (and, one assumes, the spirit in
which it was made)

Bullshit has a relation to the Truth

-Bullshit need not be a lie, and Frankfort keeps them categorically separate

-But BS is insincere and deliberately so (notice that one must try to be
insincere, it is not inadvertent)

-Frankfort posits that a liar is w/o doubt concerned with truth since
lying is --- by definition --- a conscious effort to deceive someone
with knowing falsehoods

Frankfort goes on to say that BS has more artistry implicated within it
(hence, the phrase "Bullshit artist")

-Is willing to fake the context as well, the whole panorama!

-BSers may neither misrepresent facts of a state of affairs or one's
belief about them BUT may deceive us about their enterprise – motive
taken as important

-(Student who says "I am not going to BS you …" is actually playing a BS
hand of ostensible anti-BS)

-The truth of the BSers statements is not important to the BSer BUT they
are to the liar who must necessarily deny & annul the truth --- a
fascinating paradox

-Truth teller and liar are on opposite side of same game

–But the BSer is not in this game at all, is indifferent to authority of

-Hence, Frankfort acknowledges BS can thus be damaging and corrosive
toward that truth

What about the comparison with lying?

-Father advises son to BS and not lie, in story cited by Frankfort


-Is BS better than the best designed lie? Probably not

-Is it easier to BS? Maybe

-But certainly seems BS is tolerated more than lying

-We may be irritated or shrug, but less likely to get the violent
reaction a lie can prompt

-But why is BS tolerated? At least nods to social conventions? Maintains
a buffer to gloss over potential conflict?

-Strategic social retreat: "Not going to BS …"

-Lie may also be taken as insulting of one's intelligence

In closing, he posits that in philosophy there has been a move away from
the possibility of knowing the truth – "antirealist" doctrines that
emphasize the difficulty of abstracting out what is real

-Hence, emphasis runs away from CORRECTNESS and toward SINCERITY

-On this view, we cannot know reality, but only ourselves

-The doctrine, in turn, collapses in on itself

-By the same anti-realist logic, we are indeterminate -- in flux,
malleable, mysterious -- and to this extent, we cannot know even ourselves

-Things outside us can have far greater permanence and stability –
gravity, an old tree

-On this view, he concludes the essay by observing that ON THE
ANTI-REALIST VIEW, sincerity itself becomes a species of BS
-Since INSINCERITY is BS, everything collapses into BS … IF YOU FOLLOW

Take care



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from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Strategic phoniness
+ job offers

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