In Conscientious Thinking, David Bosworth cuts through all the noise of today’s political dysfunction and cultural wars to sound the deeper causes of our discontent. Americans are living, he argues, in a profoundly transitional era, one in which the commonsense beliefs of the first truly modern society are being undermined by the still crude but irreversible forces set loose by technology’s drastic revision of our everyday lives. He shows how this disruptive conflict between modern and post-modern modes of reasoning can be found in all advanced fields, including art, medicine, and science, and then traces its impact on our daily actions through such changes as the ways in which friends relate, money is made, crimes are committed, and mates are chosen.
Just as feudal values had to give way to a modern worldview that more effectively contained the new social reality generated by the printed book, so must our democracy reimagine itself in ways that can domesticate—civilize rather than merely “monetize”—a post-modern scene radically transformed by our digital machines. To that end, Conscientious Thinking supplies not only the means to make sense of our contentious times but also a provisional sketch of what a desirable post-modern America might look like.