HomeBooksOn Bullshit

On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt

Curve-billed Thrasher, Alamogordo NM, November 12, 2011

This just came yesterday. I don't remember now how I came upon it, but at the time I thought it worth reading. We'll see.

Page one begins:

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, nor attracted much sustained inquiry.

We'll see....


At least the book is mercifully short. Have I been had? Or is this guy serious? I can't decide. The only bit remotely worthy of repeating here is within the last paragraph of the book, which ends thus:

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 judgement 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.