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Anti anti-humanism

John Gray's philosophy of pessimism is as arbitrary and unfounded as the Enlightenment ideas he rejects

By Adair Turner   July 2003

When John Gray recently reviewed a book of mine he noted that “Turner takes for granted that the world will be spared large-scale war.” It was an odd observation. My book was about political economy and major war was one among many issues not discussed. Nor was there anything in the book from which to infer my views on its likelihood. As it happens, I think the chances depressingly high that nuclear weapons will be used somewhere in the world in the 21st century. But to Gray my omission defined my naive optimism, for major war is so close to…

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