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mcvs9803 picture seahorse picture Back From Chaos

The assumptions of the Enlightenment -- about the unity of all knowledge, about the potential for human progress -- were displaced by postmodern skepticism about the possibility of real knowledge and about the existence of objective truth. But now, the author argues, the promise of the Enlightenment is being renewed. The great branches of learning will draw closer -- revealing an order that underlies everything.

by Edward O. Wilson

  • Web Only: All for One, One for All
    An Atlantic Unbound interview with Edward O. Wilson.

  • The Lessons of ValuJet 592

    The circumstances that led to the ValuJet crash in May of 1996 are no longer a mystery. Nevertheless, the accident continues to raise troubling questions -- not about what happened but about why. Our author argues that it represents what analysts call a "system accident" -- a kind of accident that may lie beyond the reach of conventional solutions.

    by William Langewiesche
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    Notes & Comment: Today's Most Mischievous Misquotation
    Adam Smith's blind faith in the "invisible hand" of the market wasn't really Adam Smith's faith at all -- and today Smith is invoked in behalf of causes he did not support.
    by Jonathan Schlefer

    Politics: California, Here We Come
    California has led the way toward heavy -- and shortsighted -- reliance on voter referenda. As other states embrace the practice, the perils of this form of direct democracy are becoming more apparent.
    by Peter Schrag

    Fiction & Poetry

    seahorse picture The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet
    A short story
    by Francine Prose

  • Web Only: As the World Thrums
    An Atlantic Unbound interview with Francine Prose.

    They Can't Take That Away From Me
    A poem
    by Gail Mazur

    A poem
    by David Solway

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  • Arts & Leisure

    Travel: Lewis and Clark and Us
    Might the Lewis and Clark saga be an appropriate focus for a trip with children? A five-member Corps of Discovery set off to find out.
    by Cullen Murphy

    Sport: Tree Surfing and Other Lofty Pleasures
    "I look for one that announces 'Climb me,'" says a practitioner of the fledgling sport known as technical tree climbing.
    by Michael Finkel

    Food: Belgian and Bubbly
    Some of the best beer in the world is made in the manner of champagne.
    by Corby Kummer


    War in the Mind
    Shook Over Hell: Post-Traumatic Stress, Vietnam, and the Civil War, by Eric T. Dean Jr.
    by James M. McPherson

    How to Pay for a Good College
    The Student Aid Game, by Michael S. McPherson and Morton O. Schapiro
    by Donald Kennedy

    Brief Reviews
    by Phoebe-Lou Adams

    Other Departments

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    The Puzzler
    by Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon

    Word Court
    by Barbara Wallraff

    All material copyright © 1998 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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