A bit more philosophy for the rusty wheels of my mental faculties...Frankfurt, Harry G. On Truth. New York: Knopf, 2006. Summary
: Philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt defends his position with regards to the importance of truth first mentioned in his previously published essay, On Bullshit
. Though primarily defending truth on utilitarian grounds, Frankfurt also suggests that it is integral to our notion of selfhood. Comments
: Though the pseudo-metallic gold binding is quite eye-catching, don't expect any glamorous The Matrix
-like ruminations on the possibility of absolute knowledge or how to go about finding it. Harry G. Frankfurt, famous overnight for his provocatively titled On Bullshit
, thinks that sort of line of intellectual inquiry is, pun intended, pure bullshit and a waste of time. Rather, he argues that the very foundations of society and human relationships are premised on provable examples of the common sense notion of truth, and that anyone (I can just see liberal philosophy minions pointing fingers at the Bush administration here) who denies its importance is a grave threat to society.
Actually, despite outlying digressions like Shakespearean lying lovers in Chapter VIII or, to a lesser extent, humanity and its self-defining rationality in Chapter V, I liked this essay even more than its prequel. There are no swear-word-in-title gimmicks to sell this serious work of philosophy intelligently written to the layperson. This time around, Frankfurt's view of the world is abundantly clear--he has no time whatsoever for relativism or postmodernism, for example. And, while I personally enjoy the whimsy of postmodernism in a literary context, the utter disillusionment with the world that its point of view encourages is not salubrious, and Frankfurt is utterly correct in decrying it. These may be uncertain times, but there are basic things of which we can be sure, and we should not abstain from action just because someone is trying to bullshit or lie to us. Notes
: hardcover, 1st edition, 1st printing Rating
- A profoundly important and timely essay that reminds us that not everything is a matter of opinion. Thank you for leading the charge.