By Gary L. Hardcastle, George A. Reisch (eds.)
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What this book does, instead, is offer discussions, interpretations, and criticisms related to Frankfurt’s essay and other philosophical work on bullshit. Since On Bullshit was originally written for academic philosophers, and our book is written for people intrigued by On Bullshit but otherwise only tourists in the halls of philosophy, some chapters will help explain what philosophical essays like Frankfurt’s aim to do and how they work. What does it mean, for example, to propose a “theory” of bullshit, given that theories of this or that usually come from laboratories filled with test tubes and expensive instruments?
Never mind. Truth is, Stewart didn’t need to explain why the book is apropos. There was, as the saying goes, an elephant in the room during that interview. It was the same elephant that haunted Frankfurt’s other appearances on television and radio. On each occasion it lounged next to Frankfurt and his interviewer, waiting to be named, discussed, or at least acknowledged. ” The elephant was, of course, a war. Like most others in United States’ history, it sharply divided popular opinion. But this war was highly unusual, too.
For in the wake of the missing WMDs, On Bullshit appeared amidst an explosion of various kinds of fraud and deception. Some, such as identity theft and eBay swindles, were enabled by new technologies of commerce, the Internet, and the demise of the photograph as a trustworthy document (see the neologism ‘to photoshop’). Yet other kinds seem inexplicable without positing something like a cultural attitude or climate in which truth has become—much as Frankfurt feared—less important than the demands of political, commercial, artistic, and even scientific success.
Bullshit and Philosophy by Gary L. Hardcastle, George A. Reisch (eds.)