On Bullshit

I found Harry Frankfurt‘s “On Bullshit” a very entertaining read. Thoroughly interesting, albeit somewhat lightweight despite the philosophical motivation of Frankfurt. It is an endeavour to understand the nature of bullshit, how it distinguishes from lies and humbug (!), and why there just seems to be so much of it nowadays!

Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances required someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about. Thus the production of bullshit is stimulated whenever a person’s obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic exceed his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic. This discrepancy is common in public life, where people are frequently impelled -whether by their own propensities or by the demands of others – to speak extensively about matters of which they are to some degree ignorant.

Frankfurt is not talking bullshit here…