A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate c...more
I found this tiny book both illuminating and useful when I first read it in 2005. Now, amidst the bullshit-crammed tweet storms of Dear Leader Trump, I find it central to understanding the devolution of our political discourse.
Frankfurt demonstrates, through argument and example, the difference between lying and bullshit: the liar knows what is true (or else he would not be lying), whereas the bullshitter cares nothing about truth or lies. The bullshitter really does not give a damn.
I find this ...more
All this sounds like I didn't enjoy it, but you know when it comes to stars I'm wavering between 1.5 and a 4.5, I can ...more
The job was generic and relatively straightforward, and did not require any special expertise: I concluded my two week visit successfully. Imagine my horror when, during the concluding meeting, the Head of Engineering said: "Mr. Varma, from your vast expertise, can you give some advice about a problem in operations?"
My knees turned weak and heart sta ...more
"One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share."
In “On Bullshit” by Harry G. Frankfurt
"’a person who undertakes to bullshit his way through has much more freedom. His focus is panoramic rather than particular. He does not limit himself to inserting a certain falsehood at a specific point, and thus he is not constrained by the truths surrounding ...more
This is how the work ends :)
― Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit
Sometimes what is natural still deserves a little study. What is exactly is bullshit? How is bullshit different from a lie? How is bullshit different than humbug? If these questions plague you or you are just seeking a philosopher's take on the nature, design, function, and theory of bullshit -- well do I have a book (a short book) for you. ...more
“On Bullshit” is a short academic essay packaged into a small hardcover, published in 2005, before the current iteration of political discourse.
I worried this about Bush as I now do Trump: Is he a pathological liar? Is he crazy? Is he stupid? Is he just a bullshitter?
Frankfurt is a bit helpful here in making a distinction between lying and bullshit:
“It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.”
Humbug. Balderdash. Clapt ...more
Though I should point out that I'm not a "Frankfurtist" as I disagree with his main theories on the matter of free will, But I like his style. His style of logical argumentation is to some extent precise which is much appreciated in the age of continental philosopher (or as I call them, lazy-ass-dramatic-claimer). Also, his style of writing is fun, elegant and rather enjoyable to read.
I would recommend reading this essay to almost anyone who has time for 64 pag ...more
While liars say things they kn ...more
On Frankfurt's account, there are two necessary conditions for something to count as bullshit:
(1) The speaker must be indifferent to the truth of what he says.
(2) He must intend to deceive his audience about his indifference to the truth of what he says.
Who would count as such a producer of bullshit? Maybe the Fourth of July Orator wh ...more
Frankfurt says that the reason BS is so common is because people are convinced that they are obligated to have opinions on everything, and so they pr ...more
In this very short w ...more
Cynicism is enlightened false consciousness. It is that modernized, unhappy consciousness, on which enlightenment has labored both successfully and in vain. It has learned its lessons in enlightenment, but it has not, and probably...more
Frankfurt's cleverness is drowned by his intellectual masturbation, he created a work more of bullshit that on bullshit: one wo ...more
Well, I have to say it was a fun read but hardly worth buying. I would have rather bought another of the many books I have lined up and would like to own. Worth reading, but don't pay for it. You could read it in the bookstore in about 20-30 minutes. I read it while waiting for the bus tonight. I now know the difference between lying and bullshitting and really don't care all that much. I still look ...more
But it is preposterous to imagine that we ourselves are determinate, and hence susceptible both to correct and to incorrect descriptions, while supposing that the ascription of determinacy to anything else has been exposed as a mistake. As conscious beings, we exist only in response to other things, and we cannot know ourselves at all without knowing them. Moreover, there is nothing in theory, and certainly nothing in experience, to support the extraordinary judgment that it is the truth about himself that is the easiest for a person to know. Facts about ourselves are not peculiarly solid and resistant to skeptical dissolution. Our natures are, indeed, elusively insubstantial -- notoriously less stable and less inherent than the natures of other things. And insofar as this is the case, sincerity itself is bullshit.”