Frankfurt wrote the little bookOn Bullshit
(2005) that became a surprise runaway best-seller. It focused on, as the title indicates, people "who are attempting by what they say to manipulate the opinions and the attitudes of those to whom they speak." This sequel, equally brief, trenchant, and deeply thoughtful, is another extended essay, this one on a topic closely related to the first. Frankfurt takes the position that a "deplorable mistake" would be unleashed abroad if there should develop in today's world a widespread lack of caring for the "value and importance" of truth. He finds a disregard for truth "endemic" among publicists and politicians, but he has discovered a similar attitude growing among authors. Frankfurt works with a broad canvas here, averring, "A society that is recklessly and persistently remiss in [supporting and encouraging truth] is bound to decline." Without an appreciation for truth, humans can not consider themselves--take pride
in themselves--as rational animals, separate from other animals in that regard. The author is an emeritus professor of philosophy at Princeton, and despite its brevity, this provocative meditation is not light reading. Brad HooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Harry G. Frankfurt is a professor of philosophy emeritus at Princeton University. His books include The Reasons of Love
; Necessity, Volition, and Love
; and The Importance of What We Care About
. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.