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On B U L L S H I T

 
 
Reply Fri 3 Oct, 2008 05:06 pm
On B U L L S H I T
Harry Frankfurt
ISBN 0691122946
Princeton University Press

Overview:

On B U L L S H I T was an essay written by Harry Frankfurt with a goal to expose B U L L S H I T as something that is worse than lying. Frankfurt begins by outlining what B U L L S H I T is as well as its antecdents. He then attacks attempts to align it with lying, as the latter cares for the truth in order to do the opposite. He then proceeds to discuss the various instances of B U L L S H I T in culture.

Pros:
* Short Read
* Clear, engaging discussion on the B U L L S H I T phenomenon.
* Makes appropriate use of examples and anecdotes of B U L L S H I T instances.

Cons:
* Too expensive for Such a Short Read

Highlights:

- Lying does care for the truth in order to oppose it. B U L L S H I T T I N G doesn't pay any attention to truth.

- Frankfurt views Humbug, a deceiving misrepresentation of the facts as similiar or antecedent to B U L L S H I T.

- Wittgenstein was an uncaring jerk. Fania Pascal relates this anecdote about Ludwig: "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.'" Ludwig was accusing Fania of mispresentating the pain... B U L L S H I T T E R!!.

- Frankfurt attacks attempts to exonerate B U L L S H I T T E Rs as being true to their own convictions if not true to reality.

In my view, the B U L L S H I T T E R is akin to Kierkegaard's aesthetic person; the aesthetic is merely interested in impressing people, increasing enjoyment, rather than what is true or false, right or wrong. Frankfurt's B U L L S H I T E R likewise, doesn't care for truth values, but merely to impress.

I liked the essay. But I didn't think it deserves to be in a book all by itself. Perhaps if Mr. Frankfurt combined it with his other essays, such as On Truth, which came out later, it would be a book worth the $15 dollar price tag.

Rating: 8.5
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Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 01:58 am
@Victor Eremita,
- Wittgenstein was an uncaring jerk. Fania Pascal relates this anecdote about Ludwig: "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.'" Ludwig was accusing Fania of mispresentating the pain... B U L L S H I T T E R!!.


That is hilarious.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 02:12 am
@Arjen,
This looks intriguing. Good, applicable-to-everyday-experience nonfiction is hard to come by. Added to "need to get" list.

If I may be so impolitic, how painful was this to purchase?
Victor Eremita
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 04:56 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
This looks intriguing. Good, applicable-to-everyday-experience nonfiction is hard to come by. Added to "need to get" list.

If I may be so impolitic, how painful was this to purchase?


It is a great well-written and short essay; I went through it twice and understood the major points within hours.

I guess $15 dollars isn't that much of a loss, but still; I could've gotten Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and Kierkegaard's Either/Or for the same price and spend months on them.
Ennui phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 07:24 am
@Victor Eremita,
Not bad,I will endeavour to buy.
0 Replies
 
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 12:00 am
@Victor Eremita,
Do what I did. Go to Barnes and Noble read the book in a half hour taking notes on the few lines worth remembering, place the book back on the shelf and leave. If you want to spend money on a book about bullsh it, by Bullsh it and Philosophy. It has almost all of Franfurt's book quoted anyway. The book is a series of essays that looks at bullsh it from epistemological, metaphysical, ethical, and political points of view. Some of the essays are snoose worthy, but the one's that tend to be witty may also have the best academic content.
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 01:45 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;31930 wrote:
It is good fun to ruin the surface of a piece of paper...one hurts no one, and paper is cheap enough.

How do you think a tree would respond to that?
They said that about gasoline once; it's fun to burn it up, burning it hurts no one and it's cheap enough.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 06:25 am
@nameless,
Yea I actually came this || close to buying it.

It's the funniest little book (funny as in tiny, cute). Unforunately, the other books I had in my hands cost my whole allotment for that run, so the $15 for this had to wait.

... it didn't even occur to me to just read it there <headslap>. I'll probably do that next time I'm there.

Cheers
logan phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Feb, 2009 05:38 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Yea I actually came this || close to buying it.

It's the funniest little book (funny as in tiny, cute). Unforunately, the other books I had in my hands cost my whole allotment for that run, so the $15 for this had to wait.

... it didn't even occur to me to just read it there <headslap>. I'll probably do that next time I'm there.

Cheers

Haha yes, it is quite pricey! I read it in the bookstore myself a couple of years ago :haha:
hammersklavier
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Feb, 2009 07:33 am
@logan phil,
Interesting. I will endeavor to borrow, this could be useful in my attempts to explicate how dishonesty is the root of all transgressions (i.e., lying is the source of all evil).
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