Friday, April 5, 2019

dare to understand

Excerpt from the book Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

In his book The Beginning of Infinity, David Deutsch argues that if we dare to understand, progress is possible in all fields, scientific, political, and moral:

Optimism (in the sense that I have advocated) is the theory that all failures - all evils - are due to insufficient knowledge... Problems are inevitable, because our knowledge will always be infinitely far from complete. Some problems are hard, but it is a mistake to confuse hard problems with problems unlikely to be solved. Problems are soluble, and each particular evil is a problem that can be solved. An optimistic civilisation is open and not afraid to innovate, and is based on traditions of criticism. Its institutions keep improving, and the most important knowledge that they embody is knowledge of how to detect and eliminate errors. 


Enlightenment's motto is "Dare to understand!" and its foundational demand is freedom of thought and speech. 


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