Its question is: what is wrong with bullshit, anyway, in its indifference to the truth? The proper response, according to Frankfurt, is that "truth often possesses very considerable practical utility." The obvious rejoinder is not quite ignored, but it is rather scandalously deferred to a final "chapter":
[What] can be said about the value of truth itself, as distinct from the rather commonplace suggestions I have already offered concerning the value of individual truths?What Frankfurt goes on to provide, however, is not a reason to care about getting it right when doing so is not of practical use or is useful only to other people, or a reason to care about truth for its own sake, but a reason to be glad that there are truths to be acknowledged, even when those truths conflict with one's desires. The argument is that
our recognition and understanding of our identity arises out of, and depends integrally on, our appreciation of a reality that is definitively independent of ourselves. In other words, it arises out of and depends on our recognition that there are facts and truths over which we cannot hope to exercise direct or immediate control. If there were no such facts or truths, if the world invariably and unresistingly became whatever we might like or wish it to be, we would be unable to distinguish ourselves from what is other than ourselves and we would have no sense of what in particular we ourselves are.Even if Frankfurt is right about this, one has to admit that it's pretty lame. We might have hoped for fireworks, as at the end of the earlier book: "sincerity itself is bullshit"! But the fireworks themselves were quite indifferent to the truth. And this book, too, instantiates its theme. However much he may have wished for his topic to be interesting, and its examination fruitful, the facts were not in his control.