Monday, December 18, 2006

Book 98: On Truth

NUMBER: 98
TITLE: On Truth
AUTHOR: Harry G, Frankfurt
STARTED: December 17, 2006
FINISHED: December 17, 2006
PAGES: 101
GENRE: Philosophy

FIRST SENTENCE: Not very long ago, I published an essay on bullshit, entitled On Bullshit (Princeton University Press, 2005).

SUMMARY: [From barnesandnoble.com] Having outlined a theory of bullshit and falsehood, Harry G. Frankfurt turns to what lies beyond them: the truth, a concept not as obvious as some might expect.

Our culture's devotion to bullshit may seem much stronger than our apparently halfhearted attachment to truth. Some people (professional thinkers) won't even acknowledge "true" and "false" as meaningful categories, and even those who claim to love truth cause the rest of us to wonder whether they, too, aren't simply full of it. Practically speaking, many of us deploy the truth only when absolutely necessary, often finding alternatives to be more saleable, and yet somehow civilization seems to be muddling along. But where are we headed? Is our fast and easy way with the facts actually crippling us? Or is it "all good"? Really, what's the use of truth, anyway?

With the same leavening wit and commonsense wisdom that animates his pathbreaking work On Bullshit, Frankfurt encourages us to take another look at the truth: there may be something there that is perhaps too plain to notice but for which we have a mostly unacknowledged yet deep-seated passion. His book will have sentient beings across America asking, "The truth-why didn't I think of that?"

REASON FOR READING: Saw it on a cart I was labeling, and I had to see if the author was just as pretentious as ever.

THOUGHTS: Yup, still has pretentious as ever.

I have this sneaking suspicion that Mr. Frankfurt is just going out of his way to be an ass. There is something in his superfluous vocabulary and overwrought prose that makes me think he sees himself as better than everybody else. I could not actually get into the subject of this book because I was too busy dreaming of socking the author.

This is the second of Frankfurt's books where I've wanted to say, "Thank you, sir, for philosophically investigating a common subject to an obvious conclusion." We need truth. Truth is good. Truth keeps society going. Wow, what a profound conclusion. Honestly, I never knew that.

Sure, this could be a great book, but Mr. Frankfurt's holier-than-thou tone really just makes me want to kick him in the shins.

I get it. You're smart; you don't have to be hoity-toity about it.

MISCELLANEOUS: Shiny cover!

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Back to the library
RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]

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