On Bullhit Summary

Decent Essays

Harry G. Frankfurt was a former philosophy professor at Princeton University. In 1986, he wrote the article “On Bullshit” that was published in the Raritan Review. Two years later, it was published in a book, “The Importance of what we care about,” with all Frankfurt’s other philosophical essays and then ended up being published as its own volume in 2005, which then became a number one seller for 27 weeks straight. In Frankfurt’s article, he tries to distinguish the difference between bullshit and lying and why there is so much bullshit. Frankfurt tells us there is no theory for bullshit, so he tries to lay out a foundation philosophical analysis of what bullshit might mean to us.
Frankfurt talks about the definition of bullshit in the Oxford English Dictionary, which has multiple definitions that he goes on to elaborate on. He refers to Max Black’s essay, “The Prevalence of Humbug,” saying that the word humbug is almost the same as bullshit. The definition of humbug goes on …show more content…

He gives an example of Ludwig Wittgenstein saying about in the older days builders took pride in their work, not cutting corners or taking shortcuts, in other words, no bullshit. Another example given was from a conversation between Fania Pascal and Ludwig Wittgenstein, “I had my tonsils out and was in the Evelyn Nursing Home feeling sorry for myself. Wittgenstein called. I croaked: ‘I feel just like a dog that has been run over.’ He was disgusted: ‘You don’t know what a dog that has been run over feels like.’” The purpose of this example was to show the difference between a lie and bullshit. Just because she has never felt was a dog feels after being ran over, doesn’t mean she lying about not feeling well. He goes on to say that if she were feeling fine and then said the same statement it would be a lie because the truth is that she is fine. Her statement isn’t concerned with the truth, which is exactly what Frankfurt’s belief of bullshit

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