Philosopher Harry Frankfurt famously drew a distinction between lies and what he termed “bullshit”.
A lie is an untruth, but it is still tied to a fact. It is the corruption of the fact. Bullshit is speech with no basis in fact, in truth. Many of us think we live in an age of lies, when in fact we live in an age of bullshit.
Bullshit is like belief, its embrace affords no room for questioning.
Frankfurt’s notion of bullshit can help us better understand the nature of modern politics, advertising, news and even science (think climate change denial or anti-vaxxers).
It’s important for the future because it underpins the futility of trying to convince people with facts alone, because if you’re persuaded by bullshit, facts don’t matter.
In this age of “bullshit” we should never take spin for granted. We should all be proud to call ourselves sceptics.