Francis Bacon on bullshit beliefs

Francis Bacon (1561-1626), in his Novum Organum (1620), classifies the sources of false beliefs (i.e. bullshit beliefs) into four categories or idols:
idols of the tribe (idola tribus),
idols of the cave (idola specus),
idols of the market (idola fori), and
idols of the theater (idola theatri).

See also:


C. D. Broad, The Philosophy of Francis Bacon, 1926.

G. A. Cohen’s commentary on Harry Frankfurt’s “On Bullshit”

G. A. Cohen, Finding Oneself in the Other, 2012: Chapter 5: “Complete Bullshit.” This chapter is a reprint of an article which appeared in Sarah Buss and Lee Overton, eds., Contours of Agency: Themes from the Philosophy of Harry Frankfurt, 2002. In this festschrift, Frankfurt replied: “Reply to G. A. Cohen.” In this piece, Cohen marks the important distinction between a bullshitter and bullshit.

See also: William Lewis, “Is there less bullshit in For Marx then in Reading Capital?”


Patents on Life are bullshit

Here is informative article on patents on life: 8 things you should know about Patents on Life 

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, “Why Biotech Patents Are Patently Absurd –
Scientific Briefing on TRIPs and Related Issues,” 2001.

The Supreme Court case which gave the right to patent life forms: Diamond v. Chakrabarty.  The Supreme Court case was argued on March 17, 1980 and decided on June 16, 1980. The patent was granted by the USPTO on Mar 31, 1981.[

Why about bullshit?

First, everything which I write here, please consider as a draft which may be modified or retracted.

Second, when I look back at things which I have written, they are mostly criticisms — rejections of this or that.

Third, what I have to say about metaphysics and epistemology, I have said in my Ph.D. dissertation, Critique of Wilfrid Sellars’ Materialism, 1990.  I characterize myself as an Emergent Materialist, and I agree with Sellars that “in the dimension of describing and explaining the world, science is the measure of all things, of what is, that it is, and of what is not that it is not.” In light of the existence of artifacts (things created by humans), the Sellarsian claim has to be qualified. When Sellars uses the term “world” he must be talking about — to use his term — the “physical-2” world (this is the physical world before the emergence of life, i.e. the inanimate world). If he includes the “physical-1 world,” then the term “science” must be expanded to cover intentional phenomena (function, teleology). And “explanation” must be expanded to cover not only causal explanations but explanations by reasons.

Fourth,  I believe that Curt Ducasse was correct in viewing philosophy as dealing with appraisals — both positive and negative.  To call something bullshit is to express a very strong negative appraisal.