Harry Gordon Frankfurt
(born May 29
) is a professor
emeritus of philosophy
at Princeton University
. He previously taught at Yale
University and Rockefeller University
. He obtained his B.A.
in 1949 and Ph.D.
in 1954 from
Johns Hopkins University
. His major areas of interest include moral philosophy
, philosophy of mind
, and 17th century rationalism
. His 1986 paper On Bullshit
, a philosophical investigation of the concept of "bullshit
", was republished as a book in 2005 and became a surprise bestseller
, leading to media appearances such as Jon Stewart
's The Daily Show
. In 2006 he released a companion book, On Truth
, which explores society's loss of appreciation for truth.
Among philosophers, Frankfurt was for a time best known for his interpretation of Descartes's rationalism, his account of freedom of the will (on which he has written numerous important papers) based on his concept of higher-order volitions, and for developing what are known as "Frankfurt counterexamples" (i.e., thought experiments designed to show the possibility of situations in which a person could not have done other than he/she did, but in which our intuition is to say nonetheless that he/she chose freely). However, his later work on love and caring is now equally discussed.