Needless to say, I am a fan of Professor Frankfurt ( Professor Emeritus – Princeton University – Dept. of Philosophy. On Truth, is another of Dr. Franfurt’s little gems that makes a superb gift for someone you know who may display one of the following characteristics:
1. A know-it-all. (“If you people would only see it my way, you’d all be fine.”)
2. Someone who has a penchant for saying “and that’s the truth.”
3. Someone who has the propensity for saying “the truth is relative.”
4. Persons who state that the pursuit of truth is a waste of time and energy. Thus, they remain comfortable living with what they think they know – and stop growing.
Here are a few tidbit excerpts that I truly enjoyed (Trust me — there are a ton more than the few shared below):
“Civilizations have never gotten along healthily, and cannot get along healthily, without large quantities of reliable factual information. They also cannot flourish if they are beset with troublesome infections of mistaken beliefs. To establish and to sustain an advanced culture, we need to avoid being debilitated either by error or by ignorance. We need to know – and, of course, we must also understand how to make productive use of a great many truths. P.35
“Joy, as I think he understands it, is a feeling of the enlargement of one’s power to live, and to continue living, in accord with one’s most authentic nature.” pp. 44-45.
“When I was a child, I often felt oppressed by the chaotic jumble of implausible notions and beliefs that I felt various adults were attempting to foist on me.” P. 55.
“Readiness to face disturbing facts about ourselves may be an even more critical asset than a competent understanding merely of what we are up against in the outside world.” P. 59.
“In the end, however, our ignorance and our false beliefs are likely just to make our circumstances worse.” P. 60.
(Emphasis above is mine).
A splendid companion to Frankfurt’s “On Bullshit” that will be duly appreciated by the receiver of this little book.