Review: On Bullshit

On Bullshit On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Frankfurt discusses the difference between bullshit and lies. Lying is a conscious act of deception, while BSing is distinguished by its indifference to how things really are. The liar, in order to lie, must know what he thinks is true, whereas the BSer doesn’t care what is true. So in a sense bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

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 pretend to understand issues they know very little about.

He goes on to suggest that one source of the influence of bullshit in public discourse comes from an attitude that rejects a concern with objective reality in favor of being true to ourselves. “Convinced that reality has no inherent nature, which he might hope to identify as the truth about things, [the individual] devotes himself to being true to his own nature.” But what makes us think that our “true selves” are any more stable or determinate than facts about the world around us? It’s a good question, really.

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Published by Beth @ Beth's Bookish Thoughts

This blog is for my thoughts on reading. A couple of my friends on GoodReads have blogs, so eventually I decided to start one myself. I hope to get involved in the book blogging community and become a better reader and writer! I am not accepting copies of new books for review, but I would be interested in new editions or new translations of classic authors. Find me on Upwork (as an editor) in the profile link. From September 2018 to October 2020 I blogged at Blogger.

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