The Current Issue

February 2018, Issue 461 Margot Light on nuclear war * Alastair Campbell on depression * Piers Brendon on British spies & the Establishment * Henrietta Garnett on the writers' reader * Lucy Lethbridge on Laura Ingalls Wilder * Alan Taylor on the Debatable Land * Kevin Jackson on faerie folk * Julian Baggini on Steven Pinker's enlightenment * Michael Burleigh on the CIA in Afghanistan * Wendy Moore on women's suffrage * Thomas Hodgkinson on self-improvement * Keith Miller on Jim Crace * Josie Mitchell on Joe Dunthorne * Tom Holland on Æthelflæd * Andrew Roberts on Lansdowne * Felipe Fernández-Armesto on fish as food * Duncan Wu on Shelley and Frankenstein * Andrew Lycett on an Ethiopian memoir *  and much, much more…

Julian Baggini

Enlightenment Now: A Manifesto for Science, Reason, Humanism, and Progress

By Steven Pinker

‘Don’t confuse pessimism with profundity,’ warns Steven Pinker at the end of a book he knows will have many confusing positivity with shallowness. Outside of California, where belief in the almost spiritual power of technology not just to save humanity but massively to improve it reigns, the cognoscenti revel in pessimism. Any suggestion that the state of mankind might actually have been getting better over time is dismissed as the discredited Whig version of history. Defenders of reason are accused of a faith more naive than that of religious believers, who at least understand the pitiful, fallen state of humankind... read more

More Articles from this Issue

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter