I covered Harry Frankfurt’s famous paper, “On Bullshit” in my ethics class this semester–ironically, at just the time when the Trump controversy over the celebration rumors broke out. Here was one of the quiz questions, in True/False format. The quiz was just intended to ensure that they’d done the reading.
Near the end of the article, Frankfurt discusses the views of St. Augustine. According to Frankfurt, St. Augustine was the person who first coined the term “bullshit.” True or false?
Thirty percent of the class answered “true.”
Interestingly, this is one of those questions that didn’t really require having done the reading; a bit of E.D. Hirsch level cultural literacy would have done the trick. But when reading comprehension and cultural literacy fail….
The future of America, folks.