Does anyone say that for some things to be fake just means that those things are not good? Sorry for the very convoluted sounding question, some brief background might help?

I remember a snippet from an encyclopedia mentioning "fake cream", meaning not real cream. But some people prefer fake cream, it's less fattening etc.. So it can't mean worse in all contexts.

But, having said that, I can't see the difference between myself being not fake and being good. I secretly think that a lot of existential philosophy is complete bullshit because of that.

Perhaps the answer is that, if you want the real thing, then, yes, fake means bad. But where does that put us with values? If values are linguistic fictional then they are just as good as real ones? I would guess that real agency is always better than fake agency, so does that answer my question: is a fake behaviour always in some sense bad?

  • 2
    "Fake" makes a judgement on type, that is: if all the (relevant) property types of an object do not have the same value/measurement/description of a standard example, then the object is fake only if it is presented as equivalent to the standard. "Fake" does not make a value judgement. We have a psychological bias to assume fake=bad since we have experienced many instances of fake goods being inferior, but assuming because of that, that all things fake is bad is in fact a sweeping generalization fallacy.
    – christo183
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 7:15
  • can i ask why you've italicized 'type' there, am missing something, some jargon or clever use of words? @christo183
    – user35983
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 12:55
  • Simple emphasis that "fake" speaks to the properties of an object themselves, i.e: does the object X come from the product X factory, or elsewhere; rather than judging the relative quality of a particular, or group of, properties. In other words, a statement of "type" as opposed to a statement of "value".
    – christo183
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 14:07
  • or right, for some reason i thought you meant a type / token thing, wasn't sure cheers @christo183
    – user35983
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


I don't think 'sweeping generalization' is involved because the question is indexed only to 'some things' and asks whether for some things to be fake is for them to be not good.

A fake Vermeer (whether exposed as fake or not) is not a good Vermeer because it is not a Vermeer at all.

A fake Patek Philippe watch (exposed as fake) may still be a good watch, only not the type of watch it is described or presented as being or believed to be.

Fake news is definitely 'not good' with respect to truth or reliability. Value judgement seems unavoidable here.

A total maze of different usages and implications surround the word 'fake' in ordinary language. I have merely offered three examples relevant, I hope, to your question.

  • I suppose it does depend on how one is introduced to something: i.e. "Here is a fake Verneer." vs. "Here is a Verneer, there is some concern as to its authenticity".
    – christo183
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 4:54

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