Nautilus

The Common Genius of Lincoln and Einstein

Abraham Lincoln would still be remembered today as a self-taught prairie prodigy and an astute political operator who crushed the Confederate uprising, even without the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the end of slavery. Albert Einstein would still be the most famous physicist of the 20th century, and the author of the most famous equation in history, had he not called on his fellow scientists to address the moral consequences of their discoveries, speaking out against war and nuclear weapons. But both men possessed a quality that went beyond their immense talents in politics and science and elevated them to world-historical stature: an ambiguous but distinctive quality that scientists, historians, and philosophers have begun to call moral genius. By suggesting that morality can, like math or chemistry or musical composition, admit of genius-level contributions, the phrase challenges us to reconsider the nature of genius itself.

Columbia University philosopher Elliot Paul observes that at first glance a great moral leader does not appear “creative” in the same sense as a revolutionary artist or a brilliant scientist. The ideas represented by Lincoln or

Citiți o mostră, înregistrați-vă pentru a citi în continuare.

Mai multe de la Nautilus

Nautilus9 min cititeGender Studies
We Need More Feminist Dads: It’s not easy to overcome the masculine conception of fatherhood.
One of the kids in my house feels bad for people named Karen. He announced it at the dinner table. “They’re not all annoying, or racist, or anti-vaxxer,” he said. “They don’t all demand to speak to the manager. How do you think the good Karens feel?”
Nautilus6 min cititeBiology
Cognitive Scientists Are Going to the Dogs: Unleashing a new breed of research into co-evolution and the aging brain.
An old dog, it turns out, can teach humans new tricks. “In recent years the dog has grown to be one of the most important animals for researchers who aim to understand the biological background of complex traits,” says Eniko Kubinyi, an ethologist at
Nautilus10 min cititeSelf-Improvement
I Am a Heroin User. I Do Not Have a Drug Problem: Carl Hart says drug addiction is often distorted by scientists and the media.
Carl Hart is a neuroscientist and Ziff Professor of Psychology at Columbia University—he was the first tenured African-American professor of sciences at Columbia. His research focuses on the “behavioral and neuropharmacological effects of psychoactiv