glyph 558: psychology, epistemology, politics ... destruction of cultures, civilizations ... Lavoisier, France, 1794 ... Red Guards, China ... F. A. Hayek, Fatal Conceit, book ... io9, Esther Inglis-Arkell


Lavoisier: Death by Fatal Conceit

unchecked certainty can be a powerful destructive force

In the year 1794 an erruption of the Fatal Conceit occured in France, and it killed Antoine Lavoisier, one of the world's great scientists. The tale is told here by Esther Inglis-Arkell, published by io9:

F. A. Hayek's final book, The Fatal Conceit is about the danger to civilization arising from unwarranted certainty about the depth and scope of our knowledge, especially when strong convictions of rightness drive political processes and gain sufficient power to destroy adversaries. The story of Lavoisier is a compact and vivid illustration.

The history of China's Red Guards is another example of the catastrophic damage strong inflammation of the mind, politically enabled, can do to an entire culture, demolishing great art, science, literature, and individual human beings.

The Fatal Conceit, by F. A. Hayek:
January 1, 2016

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