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Two Great Problems of Learning: Science and Civilization

by Nicholas Maxwell

Two great problems of learning confront humanity: learning about the nature of the universe and about ourselves and other living things as a part of the universe, and learning how to become civilized. The first problem was solved, in essence, in the seventeenth century, with the creation of modern science. But the second problem has not yet been solved. Solving the first problem without also solving the second puts us in a situation of great danger. All our current global problems have arisen as a result. What we need to do, in response to this unprecedented crisis, is learn from our solution to the first problem how to solve the second.

In this ebook, Nicholas Maxwell revisits the eighteenth-century Enlightenment in order to correct the defective vision on which the academic structures of today have been built. This will allow us, Maxwell argues, to succeed where the Enlightenment tried but failed: to learn from scientific progress how to go about making social progress towards as good a world as possible. The result would be a revolution in the nature of academic inquiry as a whole, which would finally take up its proper task of helping humanity learn how to become wiser by increasingly cooperatively rational means.

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