May 29, 1929 |
|Main interests||Moral philosophy, philosophy of mind, free will, love, philosophy of action|
|Notable ideas||Frankfurt counterexamples, higher-order volition, theory of bullshit|
Harry Gordon Frankfurt (born May 29, 1929) is an American philosopher. He is professor emeritus of philosophy at Princeton University and has previously taught at Yale University and Rockefeller University.
His major areas of interest include moral philosophy, philosophy of mind and action, 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, he 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 cases" (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 this feature of the situation does not prevent that person from being morally responsible). However, his later work on love and caring is now equally discussed.
He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford University; he served as President, Eastern Division, American Philosophical Association; and he has received fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Andrew Mellon Foundation.
- Demons, Dreamers, and Madmen (The Philosophy of Descartes). Bobbs-Merrill. 1970.
- The Importance of What We Care about: Philosophical Essays. Cambridge University Press. 1988.
- Necessity, Volition, and Love. Cambridge University Press. 1999.
- The Reasons of Love. Princeton University Press. 2004.
- On Bullshit. Princeton University Press. 2005. ISBN 0-691-12294-6.
- On Truth. Random House. 2006. ISBN 0-307-26422-X.
- Taking Ourselves Seriously & Getting It Right. Stanford University Press. 2006. ISBN 0-8047-5298-2.
- 'The Necessity of Love' in Alex Voorhoeve Conversations on Ethics. Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-19-921537-9 (A discussion of his views on moral responsibility, caring and love, and the relationship of his later work on the structure of the will to his earlier work on Descartes.)
- Rico Hofmann, Economics and philosophy: Harry G. Frankfurt - "On Caring", GRIN Verlag, 2004, ISBN 978-3-638-89324-4.
- Feinberg; Shafer-Landau: Reason & Responsibility, p. 486.
- Bischof, Michael H. (2004). Kann ein Konzept der Willensfreiheit auf das Prinzip der alternativen Möglichkeiten verzichten? Harry G. Frankfurts Kritik am Prinzip der alternativen Möglichkeiten (PAP). In: Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung (ZphF), Heft 4.
- Frankfurt, Harry. "Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility". In Reason & Responsibility: Readings in Some Basic Problems of Philosophy, edited by Joel Feinberg and Russ Shafer-Landau, 486-492. California: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008.
- Princeton Faculty Listing
- 2007 Harry Frankfurt Video Feature Interview on The Alcove with Mark Molaro