This essay originally appeared at Adam Smith Works. The University of Virginia Center for Politics, led by Larry Sabato, provides polling results that show deep social, political, and psychological divides between Biden voters and Trump voters. Nowadays, it is common to think that large swaths of other people must be in denial. In the old […]
“The entire book that you are going to read,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in the Introduction of Democracy in America, Volume One (1835), “was written under the pressure of a sort of religious terror in the author’s soul, produced by the sight of this irresistible revolution” (6, Mansfield & Winthrop ed., U. Chicago Press, 2000).
I was pleased to find that the Oxford philosopher JR Lucas was a fan of The Master and his Emissary, and he sent me a number of his papers over the years. Most are still accessible but this gem was possibly never published. Before he died I asked if I could quote from it in my […]
Science proceeds as much by its instruments-its technologies-as it does by human thought. In early January 1610, when Galileo directed his telescope at the heavens he found to his astonishment that Jupiter had four companion “stars” (whichafter several nights he realized were moons circling Jupiter), and the Moon itself had mountains and valleys. This went against the long-accepted truths that all heavenly bodies circled the earth (or the sun), and that all were perfect. Instruments in science probe, they reveal, they occasionally surprise, and they illuminate. They become means of understanding.