Thomas Sowell’s “extraordinary” explication of the competing visions of human nature lie at the heart of our political conflicts (New York Times)
Controversies in politics arise from many sources, but the conflicts that endure for generations or centuries show a remarkably consistent pattern. In this classic work, Thomas Sowell analyzes this pattern. He describes the two competing visions that shape our debates about the nature of reason, justice, equality, and power: the "constrained" vision, which sees human nature as unchanging and selfish, and the "unconstrained" vision, in which human nature is malleable and perfectible. A Conflict of Visions offers a convincing case that ethical and policy disputes circle around the disparity between both outlooks.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of dozens of books including Charter Schools and Their Enemies, winner of the 2021 Hayek Book Prize. He is the recipient of numerous other awards, including the National Humanities Medal, presented by the President of the United States in 2003.
"Extraordinary on several counts...[Sowell] makes his case fairly, lucidly and persuasively."—The New York Times Book Review
"A classic of a very special kind...Reading [it] is like looking up at the night sky and discovering a new constellation."—Christian Science Monitor
"[A Conflict of Visions
] is recommended herewith to anybody sufficiently interested in the American condition to try to get beneath the surface of partisanship, trendy issues and pop ideology to the philosophical foundations of the Republic."—Boston Globe
"[A] fine book ... Sowell's illuminating guide to the political conflicts of our age teaches the valuable lesson that political choices always involve costs."—Commentary
"An excellent condensation of two centuries of social thought."—Booklist
"A provocative analysis of the conflicting visions of human nature that have shaped the moral, legal and economic life of recent times."—Publishers Weekly