Enough With Hobbes And Rousseau

Introduction and Index. This post is updated with other stuff I think is interesting.

The Dawn Of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow asks us to think about whether our society is the culmination of the development of human societies, and whether it’s the only one that can possibly work in a technological age.

In Chapter 1 they tell us that they initially set out to contribute to the growing debate about inequality by examining advances in archaeology and anthropology to see what they tell us about the origins of inequality. They concluded that this was not a good plan.

They start by explaining the prevailing view of the the history of human societies. One is that of Thomas Hobbes, set out his his book Leviathan, written in 1651. The other comes from Jean-Jacques Rousseau in an essay, Discourse on the Origin and the Foundation of Inequality Among Mankind, written in 1754.

Hobbes seems to start with the proposition that humans are basically selfish and brutish, and argues that we can only live decently under an authoritarian system. Rousseau seems to start with the proposition that humans were once good but have fallen from grace, a secular version of the story told by Christian Bible’s Book of Genesis. Rousseau then offers the progression of human society from foragers to bands to tribes to cities to states.

Both of these writings are speculations, thought experiments, or personal prejudices, utterly without evidentiary support. Hobbes was writing during the English Civil War, a serious crisis that the authors suggest influenced his view that humans are aggressive jerks. Rousseau wrote his essay for entry in a contest with a cash prize. It was meant not as an historical account but as a thought experiment, a speculative account. The question was set because the issue became salient in part through what the authors call the “indigenous critique” which they take up in detail in Chapter 2.

As the reader can probably detect from our tone, we don’t much like the choice between these two alternatives. Our objections can be classified into three broad categories. As accounts of the general course of human history, they:

1. simply aren’t true;

2. have dire political implications;

3. make the past needlessly dull.

This book is an attempt to begin to tell another, more hopeful and more interesting story; one which, at the same time, takes better account of what the last few decades of research have taught us. P. 3.

The first point is a major thread of the book. As to the second, on the Hobbesian view the best we can hope for is an authoritarian government with power to force decent behavior as defined by the Leader. Rousseau’s fall from grace theory says that we’re stuck, and can’t hope for much change. With respect to out-of-control inequality, either view means we aren’t going to get any change that the rich don’t like.

In the discussion of these first two points, we are introduced to some of the main themes that recur throughout the book.

1. It’s only in the last 300 years that Western thinkers have considered inequality a serious problem. Before that time, almost everyone just accepted rigid class structures as the will of the Almighty. It’s telling that the most common meaning of the term is economic inequality. We rarely discuss the other inequalities that beset our society such as power, participation in decision-making, the right to have one’s interests considered in decision-making, and the way these are distributed by race, sex, creed and class to name some of the obvious.

2. Some people can and do convert material wealth into political power, or as the authors sometimes put it, the power to push other people around.

3. The quality of life in modern civilization isn’t all that great. We get our first taste of this argument, as the authors ask whether Western civilization actually made life better for everyone. Here’s one data point from a paper by J. N. Heard: The Assimilation of Captives on the American Frontier in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,

The colonial history of North and South America is full of accounts of settlers, captured or adopted by indigenous societies, being given the choice of where they wished to stay and almost invariably choosing to stay with the latter. P. 19.

Benjamin Franklin agreed! P. 20.

Returning to the third point, the standard account of the history of human societies says that there is a natural and inexorable progression from band to tribe to city to our current apogee of hierarchy, state violence, and jacking up the price of life-saving drugs. Western cultures are founded on the idea that market exchange is the most important aspect of human character when it comes to organizing societies. If we dump that notion we can imagine all sorts of possible organizations of society that would be more interesting. Here’s a taste.

The founding text of twentieth-century ethnography, Bronisław Malinowski’s 1922 Argonauts of the Western Pacific, describes how in the ‘kula chain’ of the Massim Islands off Papua New Guinea, men would undertake daring expeditions across dangerous seas in outrigger canoes, just in order to exchange precious heirloom arm-shells and necklaces for each other (each of the most important ones has its own name, and history of former owners) – only to hold it briefly, then pass it on again to a different expedition from another island. Heirloom treasures circle the island chain eternally, crossing hundreds of miles of ocean, arm-shells and necklaces in opposite directions. To an outsider, it seems senseless. To the men of the Massim it was the ultimate adventure, and nothing could be more important than to spread one’s name, in this fashion, to places one had never seen. P. 22-2.

That’s just cool.


1. The discussion of inequality in Chapter 1 reminds me of the work of the philosopher Elizabeth Anderson which I discussed in this series. Anderson identifies several forms of equality that go beyond mere material measures. She help us see why material equality is an inadequate measure of equality. In short, we are much more than merely homo economicus. We want more from life than piles of stuff.

In my series on the work of Pierre Bourdieu I discuss his ideas about how dominant class reproduces itself. If the dominant class has the ability to convert material wealth into political and social power, we can see that the dominant class can use its material capital to push people into working really hard to preserve the wealth of the rich, to increase it, and to remove restraints on the use of wealth and power.

2. John Maynard Keynes agrees with Graeber and Wengrow that material wealth is the primary organizing principle in current social arrangements. This is from his 1926 essay On The End Of Laissez-Faire, which I discuss here in another context. Here’s a link to the essay. Section V is particularly relevant.

In Europe, or at least in some parts of Europe – but not, I think, in the United States of America – there is a latent reaction, somewhat widespread, against basing society to the extent that we do upon fostering, encouraging, and protecting the money-motives of individuals. A preference for arranging our affairs in such a way as to appeal to the money-motive as little as possible, rather than as much as possible, ….

Maybe we should think about whether we’d like to reduce the role of the money-motive in our lives. We can’t do it alone. But if all of us were to decide to do that, our lives might be more interesting.

43 replies
  1. Olav Kvern says:

    First, Ed, thanks for all of your posts. They’re great!
    I’d add: Whenever someone explains why things are the way they are by trotting out a series of “just so” stories (lots of economists come to mind), be suspicious. Do as much research as you can. It’s only in the last ~40 or so years that scientists in the relevant fields have started questioning the received Hobbes/Rousseau paradigm. Books like “The Dawn of Everything” are just bringing us up to date with near-current scientific thinking, however “radical” they might seem in the context of mainstream thought.
    Have you read James Scott’s “Against the Grain,” which Graber and Wengrow refer to in “The Dawn of Everything”? If you want more detail, then, as they say, “run, don’t walk” to find a copy. It’s a more detailed look at the Mesopotamian side of the argument, and it’s largely based on “Village on the Euphrates,” which is a summary report on findings from an archaeological site.
    Also, “Time’s Monster: How History Makes History,” by Priya Satia, which is about why and how the way that we think about history/prehistory shapes how we think about the present. (Also, Satia is a fantastic writer.)
    While I’m here: “Affluence without Abundance,” by James Suzman.
    Also, thank you for pointing me to Elizabeth Anderson. Her demolition of Tyler Cowen in “Private Government” alone was worth the price of admission.
    [Moderators: I *think* this is the user name I’ve used before–once? twice?–if not, my apologies.]

    • cavenewt says:

      Thank you for mentioning Against The Grain! I know Ed’s talking mostly about modern civilization here, but our evolutionary roots have everything to do with how we behave today. Against The Grain focuses on Mesopotamia; a similar history from our own Southwest is David Stuart’s Anasazi America, which explains generally how environmental stress (in this case waves of climate change) will push an unequal civilization over the edge. The idea that this happens repeatedly was also a feature of Against The Grain. This is contrary to “…the standard account of the history of human societies says that there is a natural and inexorable progression from band to tribe to city to our current apogee of hierarchy…”

      The hunter gatherer lifestyle seems to have been much less stressful than living in city-states. I have more than once run across the reports that early American kidnappees preferred to stay with their indigenous captors. The usual anthropological explanation is that hunter-gatherers work the equivalent of a part-time job, while those laboring in an agricultural milieu are overworked, overtaxed, and suffer more disease and malnourishment. Also, hunter-gatherers tend to be more egalitarian toward women. (Fun fact: grain became the preferred crop in early civilizations because, unlike things like potatoes, it was easier to enforce and measure for taxation.)

      Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens was also fascinating. I just started Weinstein and Heyer’s Hunter Gatherer’s Guide To The 21st Century, probing how modern civilization has outpaced our evolutionary capability to cope.

      • Ed Walker says:

        Thanks to both of you for these insightful comments. I’ll take a look at Against The Grain when I can.

        It’s especially helpful for all of us to have examples and details from other sources. The authors are clear that they can’t cover the entire sweep of the work done in the last 50 years.

        I should mention that they are fascinated by the question of why they are apparently the first to try to rethink this part of our history. I’m not going to discuss that part of the book. I did a short series on Kuhn’s The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions, and I think that offers enough of an answer for me.

      • HW3 says:

        Re Weinstein & Heying, I hate pop genetic determinism even more than technical genetic determinism. And it’s also been noted that they are now professional cranks, having driven themselves out of academia.

      • BobCon says:

        Evolution has a huge amount to do with where humans are today, but the overwhelming majority of evolutionary psychologists have things completely backwards.

        The field tends to view human behavior through the lens of specific behaviors driven by evolutionary adaptations, but this side misses the key piece of human evolution — the *elimination* of inherited behavioral traits, not the *development* of those traits.

        The plasticity of the human mind and our freedom from inherited behaviors is our critical evolutionary development, and yet the huge part of the field is obsessed with false notions of how we are acting according to biologically inherited traits.

        To be fair, some evolutionary psychologists avoid the traps of the false framework, and are always testing whether observed traits are biological in nature or not, and they have done hard work in dispelling the “just so” stories that keep coming out of the field.

        The implications for political science are enormous. The bad scientists who are part of evolutionary psychology’s unfortunate side tend to cast bad behavior as inevitable, driven by bogus notions about inherent violence or greed in human nature or other deterministic views.

        What they completely miss is how heavily evolution wiped out inborn tendencies and made us creatures of society and also open to reason and persuasion. Changing the structures of society changes who we are. Presenting evidence of outcomes changes how people think within the structures of culturally driven frameworks.

        It’s a good rule of thumb that anytime someone starts off a discourse about the human condition with an appeal to evolution, you’d better check whether they’re aware of what it has done to the human mind. If they seem unaware of how much evolution has eliminated predetermined behaviors, run for the hills, because what you’re getting is ideological projections larded with false preconceptions, not serious analysis.

        • Ed Walker says:

          I’m generally not interested in that evolutionary stuff, it all sounds like just-so stories. At least Graeber and Wengrow are consistent: they explain things and form their guesses based on the idea that our ancestors over the last 40,000 years were pretty much just like us in terms of mental acuity.

          Our authors are consistent in seeing our ancestors as fully human. So far I haven’t seen any of that pop evolutionary stuff, genetic or psychological.

          I’ve been thinking about the role of language. I assume our ancestors had vocabularies fit for their needs and for fun; and that as their observations of nature and each other changed, their vocabularies changed. Thinking turns on words, at least if it is to be communicated. Maybe the big changes come there?

  2. Christopher Rocco says:

    The Davids are definitely brilliant in their exposition and certainly challenge us in important ways by asking us to think differently about our “civilizational trajectory.” I don’t think, however, that it is fair to implicate Hobbes in the discussion, though Rousseau does engage him as an important interlocutor in the Second Discourse. Unlike Rousseau, Hobbes was not really basing his argument on anthropological or historical evidence. It’s best to understand Hobbes’ tale as a hypothetical construct, a “What if government were to disappear?” kind of argument. In 1651, Hobbes had little anthropological evidence to go on, his main historical experience was the English Civil War. Hobbes was less concerned with the actual history of human civilization (of which he knew little) than with a way to put an end to the conflict between Cavaliers and Roundheads.

    • Ed Walker says:

      That’s interesting, and it makes a lot of sense. The common view, which is all I have, is more like what the authors describe, a general view that human nature is terrible. That allows the creation of the two-sided battle of jerk vs. fallen angel, and I think that’s what the authors are describing.

  3. P J Evans says:

    I had to read something (don’t remember what, this was more than 30 years ago) by Rousseau, for Into to Political Thought. Let’s just say I was unimpressed. It read like he was setting up a system where *he* would be free to do what he wanted, supported by everyone else.

  4. Badger Robert says:

    Larger societies are more complex. The people living in them don’t understand the complexity, and an organizing mythology becomes nearly automatic. As that happens, the ability of leadership to deceive grows step by step. War and civil war follow.

    • cavenewt says:

      Yes, we’re evolutionarily designed to live in smaller groups of several family units. Even then there was a lot of fighting with the neighbors going on.

    • Ed Walker says:

      This issue, can we live decently in a gigantic society, is one I’ll come back to in the discussion section of future posts. Years ago I read an article suggesting that we are better off in small city-states than huge nation-states. I don’t remember any of the details, but it’s worth noting that one of the recurring details in the book is that our early ancestors seem to have gotten together in large groups at certain times of the year for a few months, then dispersed.

      I am certain that no one really understands how complex our society is, and I agree that makes it natural to propagate a theory of the necessity of hierarchy.

      • Doug Fir says:

        Sometime in the late 70’s Jane Jacobs had an article in The Atlantic making an argument for city-states. Maybe that’s the one you’re remembering. I can’t find it on the interwebs…

      • HW3 says:

        Tangential to size of society there is at least a conversation if far from a movement on the value of increasing the house of representatives in the US, maybe even to the 30k citizens per rep level. This would do nothing for the us senate but it would solve the electoral college problem. Theoretically it would decrease the value of a house seat and reduce the cost of running for one, to increase the diversity of participants in the house.

  5. Badger Robert says:

    I suspect that if the layers of civilization were pealed back, the work of surviving and the scarcity of human beings would simplify choices. If nature is the main source of conflict, fighting and deceiving other people looses its attraction.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The arguments for the current arrangement seem deterministic, in the model of Social Darwinism (which was neither) and similar Spencerian arguments that the wealthy were wealthy because they had earned and deserved it (rarely true).

    SD was – and sadly remains – an argument that the rich deserve their status in the manner of the divine right of kings. It was the natural and logical consequence of inevitable laws. Perhaps most importantly, following Bourdieu, it attempts to elide their agency, while simultaneously justifying their brutal, selfish ruthlessness.

  7. DrFunguy says:

    I don’t read much philosophy but I do read some history. This discussion reminds me of Guns, Germs and Steel, which explores the connections between geography and the evolution of modern civilization. It really refutes social darwinism and other myths of the innate superiority of one culture over another. Inequality arises in large part from the historical accident of living on one continent versus another and the resource and other implications thereof (disease susceptibility; availability of easily domesticated plants, climate, etc).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Despite teaching at UC Berkeley, which is not remotely as liberal as it was in the 1960s, Brad DeLong is well to the neoliberal right of the very liberal David Graeber. The article you cite reads like a faculty lounge pissing contest. Something to think about when you shake that salt shaker.

      DeLong is a longtime associate of Lawrence Summers and was a principal deputy of his at the Treasury during Clinton’s administration. Reading DeLong on Graeber is the reverse of reading Nakedcapitalism and expecting to get the straight scoop on Glenn Greenwald. For most of its readers, he, Taibbi and Mate walk on water.

      • gmoke says:

        “Apple Computers is a famous example: it was founded by (mostly Republican) computer engineers who broke from IBM in Silicon Valley in the 1980s, forming little democratic circles of twenty to forty people with their laptops in each other’s garages.”

        If Graeber wrote that, as DeLong indicates, it’s a pretty grievous set of mistakes for an honest scholar to make, no matter what politics DeLong has.

        Just saying.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It’s peripheral and not the fundamental critique the snide DeLong makes out. As a staunch Neoliberal, he cannot abide Graeber’s arguments or priorities.

  8. YinzerInExile says:

    On the question of whether we are more than merely homo economicus, in addition to your excellent series on Elizabeth Anderson, I highly recommend the book, “Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution”, by Wendy Brown. It covers similar ground, but from the other end of the pipeline, namely by looking at neoliberalism as a project to convince us that we are all only and always homo economicus.

    Thanks again for this series, Ed.

  9. pseudo says:

    James Scott’s Against the Grain seems in complete accord with Rousseau, a contemporary romantic idealization of the lifestyle in the ancestral environment. See https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/barbarian-virtues/. “A sometime primitivist like Scott, Rousseau wanted to overturn his predecessor Thomas Hobbes’s depiction of pre-state life as nasty, brutish, and short, by showing that civilized life had produced the evils superimposed on the natural condition of humanity. But two can play that game. What if the very standards by which its inhabitants find their civilization still wanting are owed to civilization itself? If freedom and equality are things that only a specific set of events in the modern history of the state has allowed us to value, then Scott’s project to go back before its origin to find earlier expressions of them is a projection onto our ancestors, not the discovery of an alternative world to be won by turning our backs on modernity.” I myself suspect the ancestral environment was quite as hierarchical as our own, if not more so, and that I would not have had a chance against the `alpha’ members of the band.

  10. Ken Muldrew says:

    I am a big fan of Graeber’s previous work and I picked up this book expecting to love it on sight, but I have had to put it aside for a while because I find myself shouting (inner voice only) at the authors on every page. They pointedly ignore how trust networks scale in human groups even though their argument depends upon it so heavily

    Cooperative human behavior is based on networks of trust. In order to do your part, you have to believe that the other people involved will also do theirs, or else the whole enterprise will fail. Trust comes from being able to reliably model what another person will do in a given situation and building the kind of model that is highly reliable can only be done over a long time with lengthy interactions with the other person. The primary type of interaction used in these interactions is gossip, at least for humans. The apes use grooming to build trustworthy coalitions within groups, but their groups are substantially smaller than human groups. Language, and gossip in particular, allows human groups to get to about 150 members without fracturing (This is the famous Dunbar’s number).

    Dunbar’s number is not restricted to primitive hunter-gatherer groups; Hutterites, who avail themselves of the most modern technology to run their farms, have found empirically that they can only exist without police if their colonies are smaller that this (in fact, they begin planning a fission as soon as they get over 100 members). Most of us, however, have no direct experience with Dunbar-number sized groups with that kind of trust. We use management to overcome that limitation, substituting the liquid-trust of a supervisor who everyone agrees to obey for the genuine trust built from long association (here I must interject to claim that it was neither the plow, nor even agriculture, that led to civilization, but rather the invention of management (those who study innovation are too quick to look to technological, and even conceptual innovation, rather than organizational innovation)). Basically, forming a group larger than about 150 members requires a hierarchy (Graeber was passionately devoted to heterarchy (hat-tip to Eureka for the word, which is so much better than anarchy) but in, e.g., The Democracy Project, he only gets away with it because all participants are so committed to making it work. Almost everyone else has enough experience with impossible people to know how pollyannish this view is).

    It is true that primitive groups such as hunter-gatherers can come together to form temporary enclaves of several thousand people, but these large groups do employ a hierarchy (also temporary) and they plan to disband after a set period of several weeks. These are not cities. They are not remotely like cities, yet Wengrow and Graeber insinuate that there is a comparison.

    There is much to like in this book and I hope to be able to appreciate it better when I pick it up again. I also hope that they come to grips with the scaling of trust networks at some point and all is made clear.

    • Eureka says:

      Relatedly, I raised fission-fusion wrt to social organization as a size and scaling problem in the context of Dewey and democratic governance (also a reminder to Ed where he left off on the stability issue):


      Hutterites’ planning ca. the century mark is one reason why I said then that the idea’s not a magic number per se but the general principles and ballpark (“Dunbar’s number” being a useful heuristic but not to the degree of literality or fixity with which some take it, especially as a pop-sci nugget).

      I’ll add to your comments here that you can’t compare temporary supergroups to cities because also space, and emphasize that *travel* (with all that denotes, including ideo/magico-religious elements; the journey) is an essential processual element of these supergroup arrangements remaining recurrently stable. [Note, too, that the Democracy Project involves travel from home/coming together in spaces that are not home-proper.]

      • Eureka says:

        In large-scale diffuse neolocal societies, the closest habitual thing to these comings-together-and-disbanding by travel might be folks going “home for the holidays”, if involving smaller numbers of individuals (and shorter or even negligible travel distances for families whose descendants don’t disperse much). Professional society meetings and such also come to mind.

        • Ed Walker says:

          Interesting points as always. I’m not sure about the need for magic or religion as a motive for travel. Even at my advanced age, I feel the tug of going somewhere, anywhere. The inability to travel was one of the most frustrating parts of the lockdowns.

        • Eureka says:

          That’s not what I was saying; I wasn’t making a statement about travel nor within that a need relating to motive, but instead about specific types of group movements (and size, temporality, attendant elements). [There’s a double misunderstanding here I’ll try to unreframe.]

          But I hear you and would like to see a beach myself. It’s still hard to imagine even as imagining is all we’ve mostly been able to do.

          It’s not about a need but an element when (large groups of) people come (back) together and leave (back) to their own communities to remark (relative) identity (refer to Ken’s comment for context; such travels are ceremonially marked. Same with Kula ring voyages you cite in the post taken from from Malinowski’s (others’) Trobriands work. See also events around movement of people like this: https://www.inquirer.com/news/inq2/rosebud-sioux-carlisle-school-student-remains-20210730.html). Ideo (don’t drop that part; it also nods to OWS events)/magico-religious aspects are part and parcel with any kind of movement of people like that.

          Backing it up further: while my initial point was about movements of groups (and the incomparable nature of such-formed supergroups with modern cities, as @ Ken), not travel per se, the common-ish examples I gave in the second comment were pointing towards experiences we can relate with about remakings of identity in miniature and regularized fusions and leavings. Consider talk — even arguments/coalition forming — on the way home among your mini-group (more-immediate family; department/colleagues) versus the larger group you left (in-laws, kooky-neat aunt & uncle; those great vs. crazy theorists/FedSocers from XYZ). These, too, are ritual markings if less formal. It would be super odd (idiosyncratic) for no downloading to occur, for example.

        • Eureka says:

          That said, as long as we’re on the topic I wouldn’t characterize travel as breezily uncomplicated (beyond the pandemic, SES constraints, etc.) or divorced from mythos —

          While I wasn’t speaking to the itch to move, raising it bolsters my point in that most groups have social structures (strictures; rules) placed around any such itch which help maintain social cohesion or order, and purpose. These can be as mundane and ecologically-integrated as rules about game parties (regulated hunting and fishing seasons/practices) or as implicit but reinforced — privileged — as who gets to go places with whom, when, and how far (anecdote: a prior-generation relative did the Appalachian Trail with a buddy over a high school summer; no chance in hell his sister could have done so, had she dreamed …). [You can flip this around to the secret behaviors of teenagers — experts at the helicopter dodge — roving in packs (if increasingly online of late).]

          Consider, too, the ideological-mythological aspects of American men looking to strike out for other lands and how we feel about travel.

          How much literary ink and how many travel dollars have flowed for a taste of Manifest Destiny.

  11. d4v1d says:

    I’m still reading through, so I will save my observation for later, but I was struck by reading this in light of our current national moment, and will leave this for others here to ponder.

    “it is possible for explicit hierarchies to emerge, but to nonetheless remain largely theatrical, or to confine themselves to very limited aspects of social life.”

  12. Stephen Calhoun says:

    Ed, everybody, looking forward to Ed’s notes and discussion. I’ll be reading along.

    Seems to me, per the giant or several I stand upon, to be anthropologically minded is to be able to hold multiple descriptions and to be skeptical about settling into one perspective or upon a single centering idea.

    Humans are the animal that creates, contextualizes, is able at trial-and-error, is able to consider what is unknown, is able to unlearn, employ complex relationships, can explore systems of systems, etc..

    • Ed Walker says:

      Thanks for the kind words. I think your general picture of human beings lies at the heart of democracy. The idea that we can or should all be the same or think the same things is fascist.

  13. jaango1 says:

    When it comes to the “private equity trail in Arizona,” I recall the latest incorporation of this historical take on “thinkers and learners” in which any conglomeration of people and the civic discourse, is both boring and outdated, when applied into our public and private educational systems. And for me, the notion of European logic versus Indigenous logic, is a challenge to me, needless to say.

    As such, the requite ability to acquire the languages of Yaqui, Apache, Spanish and English, falls into the inconsequential attitude that perpetuates this fallacy that existed after and in constructive form of the 1920s and followed by the Reagan Era and its advocated behavior for ‘trickle down economics’. And it’s this meme that encourages me to continue writing about our American future and which is requisite focus on the pending demographics coming at us over the next 20 to 30 years.

    And Ed Walker, here’s another tip of my small hat to you for your relentless attention to Health, Happiness and Decency Personified.

    • Ed Walker says:

      I think you will really like Chapter 2 of this book. The authors call the people who were here when the Europeans arrived Americans. Chapter 2 focuses on the critique of the culture of the arriving Europeans by the Americans of that day.

  14. skua says:

    Thought I’d get a modernist account of the development of human civilizations. And then Latour it.
    But google doesn’t include any in its monetised curation of “the best of the web”. Vile corruptors of curiosity.
    Any suggestions? Did Boyle opine on the development of civilizations?

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