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On Bullshit - Harry G. Frankfurt
On Bullshit
by: (author)
3.38 160
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... show 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. 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 concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, "we have no theory." Frankfurt, one of the world's most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all. Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
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Format: hardcover
ISBN: 0218681122946 (0691122946)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Pages no: 67
Edition language: English
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Community Reviews
Amber's Thoughts
Amber's Thoughts rated it
4.0 No BS: This is a Work of Philosophy
I agree with the author that there is a difference between bullshit and lying, and that bullshit is in some ways more harmful. There isn’t a better or more expressive word for it, and he analyzes the effectiveness of this word’s imagery well. One reason I wanted to read this book is because my colle...
Nithou's Readings
Nithou's Readings rated it
2.0 De L'art De Dire Des Conneries: (On Bullshit)
De l'humour pinçant en plein dedans, agissant tant en tant qu'éclairement quant au phénomène du bullshit qui se répand de plus en plus dans notre société actuelle qu'en tant que pure bullshit s'auto-démontrant. Assez pinçant, définissant la frontière très fine entre l'art de dire des conneries et le...
A Book and A Review #2
A Book and A Review #2 rated it
2.0
Gotta admit that I felt like I was reading a BS article on Bullshit. It was a nice play as the author presented the many faces of BS, but at the end I felt like I had been played with BS.
Tower of Iron Will
Tower of Iron Will rated it
3.0
A liar deliberately attempts to deceive another person regarding a factual matter. A bullshitter makes statements with complete disregard to the truth or falsity of the statement, sometimes with perfect sincerity. For this reason politics and religion will always be the twin colossal mountains of ...
Marvin's Bookish Blog
Marvin's Bookish Blog rated it
4.0
This very short book is a philosophical essay on the nature of bullshit. The main question that Frankfurt appears to be answering is, "Is lying always bullshit and is bullshit always lying?". The answer appears to be no and no. Frankfurt's distinction between the two is essentially this: The liar is...
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