Friday, August 12, 2005

On Bullshit

Friday, August 12, 2005
On Bullshit is an interesting little volume. Written by Professor Harry G. Frankfurt, this is a 67 page work of philosophy examining what is bullshit and how it is used. This is probably a fairly understandable work of philosophy, but it is well thought out and occasionally funny. Considering the subject matter, the inherent humor should not be a surprise.

It is difficult for me to really absorb what Prof. Frankfurt is saying in this book and I imagine it would take several read throughs to really grasp the concepts. I say this knowing full well that if I was used to working my mind in a meaningful manner this would be much easier for me.

Then again, this is a 67 page book about bullshit.

Prof. Frankfurt has one of the great opening passages that I've read:
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.

Several sentences later he writes
In consequence, 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.

I want to read a book that opens like this.


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