WRD 103: Composition & Rhetoric I: Winter Quarter 2014 Rotating Header Image

Bullshit is a process, not a product?

“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. image titleEveryone knows this. Each of us contributes his [or her] share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, or attracted much sustained inquiry. In consequence, we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves.” (p1)

” … she is not concerned with the truth-value of what she says. That is why she cannot be regarded as lying; for she does not presume that she knows the truth, and therefore she cannot be deliberately promulgating a proposition that she presumes to be false: Her statement is grounded neither in a belief that it is true nor, as a lie must be, in a belief that it is not true. It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth — this indifference to how things really are — that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.” (p10)

From On Bullshit, Harry Frankfurt. 

Frankfurt, Harry G. On Bullshit. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.