Analytical Ethics In Harry Frankfurt's 'On Bullshit'

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Harry Frankfurt is a trained analytical philosopher. Analytical philosophy is characterized by a special concern for clarification of concepts. In his interview, Frankfurt mentioned that respect for the truth and concern for the truth were among the foundations of civilization. However, from his observations, Frankfurt established that there was a lack of respect and concern for the truth in the writings that were being produced in his time. The concept he believed that was widely used yet poorly understood, was: bullshit. This led him to write an essay “On Bullshit” in 1986 which later turned into a book which was originally published in 2005. Frankfurt’s stand was that people are more ignorant of reality and that bullshit is becoming a significant …show more content…
That is, the lack of connection or concern for the difference between truth and falsity. Essentially, a bullshitter has no intention or motivation to say things that are either true or false. So the question of whether what he or she says is true or false is rather irrelevant to what he or she is trying to achieve. What the bullshitter says could be true, and at the same time he or she may not think that it is false. This would mean that the bullshitter is not necessarily a liar then. It is therefore important to make clear the difference between a bullshit and a lie. Frankfurt thinks that a bullshitter is a more insidious threat to the values of truth because it is hard to identify or pinpoint the truth. A liar, on the other hand, knows what the truth is but is more concerned with keeping people away from the truth. So this in itself shows a certain respect for the value of truth, because that lie can be uncovered. Bullshit is so vague and holds no account of responsibility, hence why Frankfurt believes it is more harmful than a …show more content…
From my understanding of this line, it is trying to pass a lie to someone in a disguised way. Lying and bullshitting have intentions to deceive, however, lying is deliberating misrepresenting something whereas bullshitting is not. That is, that a liar tries to conceal the truth for a particular reason while a bullshitter only cares about how they represent themselves. As Frankfurt mentions in his essay, Bullshitting is “an attempt to deceive others about one’s own enterprise and in a way that has no regard for the truth”. A bullshitter misrepresents what he is up to, what his intentions

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