Interview with Fernando Flores on Blogging

Conducted earlier this year by Rosario Lizana, the full text of the interview can be found here.

The site is set up so that I could not cut and paste from it, so you will have to go there to see what he said. The interview is less than a page in length. In it, Flores talks about his blogging, what he doing with it, about language and what it is to give an opinion, and about bullshitting. The interviewer interpreted that he was talking about Harry Frankfurt’s book, but as one person commenting pointed out, Fernando Flores was talking about bullshitting decades before Frankfurt published his book.

16 thoughts on “Interview with Fernando Flores on Blogging

  1. Tony Guarisco

    “On Bullshit”–In his 1993 valedictory talk on the retirement(ODC J graduation)of the Ontological Design Course, Fernando Flores spoke somewhat on “bullshit”. He said that he had read an article in Lear’s magazine on the subject. I saw this as an attribution for what he had later appropriated, embellished and made operational. Frankfort, has a collection of philosophical essays in his book “The Importance of What We Care About”(Cambridge Press, 1988)that contains an essay titled “On Bullshit” that he eventually expanded into the recent book.

    In the aforementioned gathering, Flores said, among other things , that bullshit is “essentially uncommitted speaking”. My own contribution to this that I don’t recall seeing anywhere is that the bullshitter usually has an agenda. It is this agenda that propells him.

  2. Thank you for the additions to the history here Tony.
    You reminded me of Walter Scott’s “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Google took me to quotations about lies (

    I guess that Flores comment about uncommitted speaking was essentially an ethical comment, to the effect that the bullshitter is speaking without commitment to an ethical agenda. As you point out, when we bullshit we are often propelled by a commitment to another agenda.

  3. Pingback: Bullshitting in The Economist: Homage to Fernando Flores and Harry Frankfurt « Chauncey Bell Blog

  4. Nancy Carney

    Hi Chauncey! I’m working in Latin America (medical research) and was looking for information about Fernando. Came across you! We worked together in the ’70’s. My last name then was Stillwell.

    Nancy Carney, PhD
    School of Medicine
    Oregon Health & Science University

    1. Kathay Duff

      I’ve been looking all over for you. I’m so sorry about John but I didn’t even know you’ married. My friend Diane Austin who we used to know whay back when found the obit. God I hopw you write me back. I’d love to talk. I’m still in Porltna, SE, number through the 411 or write me via email/ this date may be way too late 10/26/10

  5. Jim Stoneburner

    Fernando was speaking about his “technical distinction” “boolcheet” in 1986 (if not earlier), when I started taking numerous courses with him. He also used the distinction “jerk” which is someone who claims to be learning in a domain but in fact doesn’t even have a teacher. In the hierarchy of learning, it came below “beginner,” if I recall correctly.

  6. Hi Jim.
    Your memory is strong.
    The origin of this is work by Hubert Dreyfus and his brother Stuart. If you like, I can post something that Guillermo Wechsler and I worked up on it.

    From the bottom, approximately:

    Criminal (Knows that s/he is deceiving, and is doing it for personal gain)
    Jerk (Is bullshitting him/herself and those around him/her about what s/he is doing)
    Bull in a China Shop (Blind to the distinctions of the world around her/him)
    Ignorant (Knows/declares that s/he doesn’t know what s/he is doing. This is the point of departure for learning)
    Beginner (Takes instruction from someone competent, in the ambition to learn)
    Advanced beginner

    One of the most important things about this scale, I think, is that Dreyfus/Flores composed it in terms that can be observed phenomenologically, as a structure of commitments: competent, for example, means that someone can reliably fulfill promises of the sort that competent people in a particular role or domain need to fulfill. Not that specialists say they are competent, not that you have a gut feeling that I/they are competent, or any of the equivalent happy BS.

    Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment.


  7. In the tradition to which I referred, …

    Proficient: Where someone who is competent knows how to execute the standard practices of a domain, interprets contexts in the domain, anticipates breakdowns, and autonomously produces satisfied customers, one who is proficient is able to consistently produce a high degree of satisfaction for customers.

    Virtuoso: Recognizes complex contexts through subtle symptoms, anticipates radical breakdowns and habitually generates improvements in the practices of the domain. S/he is admired by other practitioners and is continuously improving whatever they are working on.

    Master: Generates new discourses and disciplines from anomalies in the domain. His/her emotional repertoire is aligned with development of new theories, practices, and generative technologies. S/he is “a classic in the domain,” or will be one.

  8. Dear Pat,
    Please say more about what you looking for with your “invitation.” In what tradition do you use the phrase “ontology of transformation”? To whom are you addressing the invitation?

  9. jesiastariafe

    There are 5 houses in five different colors
    In each house lives a different nationality.
    These 5 owners drink a certain beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar and keep a certain pet.
    No owners have the same pet, smoke the same brand of cigar, or drink the same beverage.

    The CLUES:

    The Brit lives in the Red house.
    The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
    The Dane Drinks tea.
    The Green House is on the left of the White House.
    The Green House’s owner drinks coffee.
    The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.
    The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.
    The man in the center house drinks milk.
    The Norwegian lives in the first house.
    The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats
    The man who keeps horses lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.
    The man who smokes Blue Master drinks beer.
    The German smokes Prince.
    The Norwegian lives next to the Blue House.
    The man who smokes Blends has a neighbor who drinks water.

    Who owns the fish?

  10. If you ever want to read a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this article for 4/5. Decent info, but I have to go to that damn yahoo to find the missed bits. Thanks, anyway!

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