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On Bullshit - Elf M. Sternberg
On Bullshit
Omaha and I had an opportunity last night to sit through the hour-long lecture by Harry G Frankfurt that has become his book, On Bullshit. I don't know if the book, which is only 80 pages anyway, can add anything to the brilliant, dry, stentorian and yet hilarious presentation. Frankfurt distinguishes between "lying," "humbug," and "bullshit," by saying that a lie honors the truth because the liar is concerned with conveying its opposite; humbug cares about the truth, but is written or spoken only in order to convey an impression of the writer or speaker that may or may not be accurate; but bullshit, Frankfurt contends, is insidious because the speaker does not care about the truth: he will bullshit on and on without concern for whether or not what he says is or is not true.

To this end the bullshitter is more pernicious than the liar: for the liar, at least one person knows the truth of a proposition. For the bullshitter, all that matters is that, in the end, everyone believes in something to their own satisfaction. They may not necessarily even agree on what that something is: they need only believe in their own perceptions to their satisfaction. It is this disconnect from reality that make bullshit so problematic.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: Puffy Ami Yumy, Teen Titans Theme

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fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: March 10th, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is a good book. Wish I had known about this lecture.
1 comment or Leave a comment