Harry Frankfurt

Best-Selling Author of On Bullshit

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At the Podium

At the podium, Frankfurt draws from his book to discuss the importance of truth-telling in politics, business and life. Bullshitting, or showing indifference to what is true and what is false, has become a natural part of our lives. Frankfurt explores how and why members of our society have become so adept at bullshitting and the implications. He discusses the manipulative persuasion performed by politicians and shares how starved most Americans are for “straight talk.” Why do we care if we are being told the truth? Why should others care if they are speaking the truth? A philosophical discussion with real world implications, Frankfurt’s lecture on bullshit is completely original and fascinating.

About Harry Frankfurt

The author of the #1 New York Times runaway best seller On Bullshit, leading philosopher Harry Frankfurt manages to reveal the topic of bullshit to be nuanced, intellectual and, at times, downright funny. The book, which was actually an essay Frankfurt wrote 25 years ago, focuses on the importance and respect for truth in a society wherein honesty often seems murky. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. Bullshitting, he explains, shows complete indifference to the truth. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

Professor Frankfurt’s principal areas of interest are in moral psychology, the history of early modern philosophy and philosophy of mind. Frankfurt has spent much of his career exploring the ways in which people think about themselves intellectually and morally, and how ideals and values shape our lives. His current work centers on exploring the relevance of love and non-moral goals and standards to issues concerning practical reason.

Speech Topics

  • On Bullshit
  • Taking Ourselves Seriously and Getting It Right

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