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In Plato’s Cave

From the June/July 2000 Print Edition

After growing up in poverty in rural Wyoming, Alvin Kernan joined the prewar Navy in 1941 to get a start in life. He began as an enlisted man serving on one of the aircraft carriers that were so fortuitously away at sea when the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor. He survived the sinking of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Metaphysics Matters

From the November 1999 Print Edition

In Defense of Natural Lawby robert p. georgeclarendon/oxford university press, 343 pages, $65 In his influential book The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins asserts that “Like successful Chicago gangsters our genes have survived . . . in a highly competitive world, . . . [and so] a predominant . . . . Continue Reading »

What Would Newton Do?

From the November 1998 Print Edition

Sir Isaac Newton was a man of many talents. After his great scientific discoveries he had a remarkable second career as Warden of the Mint, where he implemented a difficult reform of the coinage that may have saved the British nation from financial disaster. He personally investigated cases of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Circus of Death

From the March 1996 Print Edition

The Gravest Show on Earth: America in the Age of Aids By Elinor Burkett Houghton Mifflin, 375 pages, $24.95 Elinor Burkett portrays the AIDS culture wars as a kind of circus in which a series of clowns and villains perform on stage while the audience slowly dies from neglect. She does not purport . . . . Continue Reading »

The Limits of Pragmatism

From the January 1996 Print Edition

Overcoming Law By Richard A. Posner Harvard University Press, 605 pages, $39.95 Richard Posner is one of the intellectual giants of the legal profession. As a professor at the University of Chicago Law School he founded the contemporary law and economics movement, taking economic analysis from its . . . . Continue Reading »

Yesterday’s New Age

From the June/July 1995 Print Edition

Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon: History of the Mystics, Mediums, and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America By Peter Washington shocken, 470 pages, $27.50 Madame Helena Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy, kept a stuffed baboon in her study to symbolize her rejection of Darwinian materialism. The . . . . Continue Reading »