Academic journal article et Cetera

On Truth

Academic journal article et Cetera

On Truth

Article excerpt

Harry G. Frankfurt. On Truth. New York: Knopf, 2006.

Harry G. Frankfurt, a professor emeritus of philosophy at Princeton University and the author of the bestselling extended essay On Bullshit (previously reviewed in ETC), in his latest book is not interested in discussing the process of inquiry into what is true. Rather, he is concerned with the questions of why is truth important and why should we care about it?

Frankfurt notes that in the fields of architecture and engineering, truth (objective fact) is obviously important because structures that are built using false information can come crashing down with disastrous consequences. But, he argues, truth is also vitally important in other aspects of our lives and that without an appreciation for truth humans cannot behave as rational entities. Indeed, "A society that is recklessly and persistently remiss in [supporting and encouraging truth] is bound to decline."

Frankfurt finds a disregard for truth "endemic" among publicists and politicians, but he has discovered a similar attitude growing among social commentators and those who do historical analysis. …

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