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世界級廢話

2015/2/28 — 6:14

十年前,普林斯頓大學哲學教授Harry Frankfurt出版《論廢話》一書:精印,袋裝,短短八十頁,居然一紙風行,榮登《紐約時報》暢銷書榜榜首。
Frankfurt說,美國社會,廢話橫流,廣告是廢話,公關是廢話,政客之廢話,更是無日無之。他有兩段話,分析騙子與廢話人 (bullshitter) 之別,鞭辟入里:

This is the crux of the distinction between him and the liar. Both he and the liar represent themselves falsely as endeavoring to communicate the truth. The success of each depends upon deceiving us about that. But the fact about himself that the liar hides is that he is attempting to lead us away from a correct apprehension of reality; we are not to know that he wants us to believe something he supposes to be false. The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him; what we are not to understand is that his intention is neither to report the truth nor to conceal it. This does not mean that his speech is anarchically impulsive, but that the motive guiding and controlling it is unconcerned with how the things about which he speaks truly are.

這段話的大意是,騙子與廢話人都依賴偽裝,但前者所掩飾的,是欺騙他人的意圖,後者不想聽者發現的,卻是自己漠視真相的心態。Frankfurt繼續寫道:

廣告

It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

騙子撒謊,至少要知道﹝或自以為知道﹞真相,廢話人開口,則只求達到目的,是非真假,善惡黑白,一概置若罔聞。正因如此,Frankfurt在清談節目中表示,廢話對真理之危害,甚於謊言。

廣告

  《論廢話》一書,少時我好奇翻過,不意今日上課,有幸故書重讀,繼而憶起香港種種,尤其是《鏗鏘集》訪問的一位年青人,屢發「洗腦你同意就不是洗腦」等怪論,令人哭笑不得,感慨無端。網民封之為「世界級的世界仔」,恰指出了廢話人為達目的、不問真假的特質,這樣的風氣,香港人才真應該「警惕」。

 

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