Bullshit plagiarism

According to Frankfurt, any and all (constative) utterances made without regard to whether they are true or false is bullshit. The bullshit plagiarist, often assisted by the Internet, turns in work which is not only authored by someone else, but does not care in the least how good it is. To have a policy of doing so is to reject the aims of college teaching wholesale. In addition to preventing, detecting, and punishing plagiarism, college teachers should think about how to make bullshit plagiarism more difficult to commit—a task which requires that the teacher give the student some reason to care about whether his or her work is any good.

The introduction to my essay manuscript on the topic:

Lately, the proposition that a college education is a good investment has come under scrutiny Harry Frankfurt states that “One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.” Nonetheless, he continues, “we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us” (Frankfurt). It is just this appreciation to which I hope this paper will contribute. I will argue that there is a particular species of plagiarism—I term it “bullshit plagiarism”—that is anathema to the purpose of college teaching. Bullshit plagiarism is especially important to understand because it is facilitated by the Internet, and because it raises an important question about college teaching: should the teacher aim to make his or her students care about the material? This question is intimately related with the task of preventing bullshit plagiarism.

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