[ExI] a book of possible interest

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Dec 30 21:29:51 UTC 2008

Did I ever mention this one?

Ferocious Minds: Polymathy and the new Enlightenment, by Damien 
Broderick (Trade paperback)


Here's what the publisher says about it:

Two centuries ago, the first Enlightenment failed when its dream of 
reason smashed into the passions and fury of stubborn humans. Without 
a deep, broad understanding of the world, the emerging Enlightenment 
was left floundering, its best impulses perverted into the bloody 
excess of the French Revolution. Arguably, its idealism and noble 
goals led directly, and shockingly, to the 20th century's 
totalitarian nightmares.

Now the 21st century is learning anew the Faustian hunger to know 
everything that can be known. But Enlightenment values of reason and 
tolerance, enriched by new knowledge, face a complex world no less 
eager to embrace medieval terrorism and ancient superstitions, a 
world bizarrely denying itself many of the fresh opportunities and 
insights availed by science. Can we find cures for poverty, 
unhappiness, ignorance, the ruination of the planet, aging, and 
perhaps for death itself? If so, should we? 

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