Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.
In a sense, all technology is biotechnology: machines interacting with human organisms. Technology is designed to overcome the frailties and limitations of human beings in a state of nature -- to make us faster, stronger, longer-lived, smarter, happier. And all technology raises questions about its real contribution to human welfare: are our lives really better for the existence of the automobile, television, nuclear power? These questions are ethical and political, as well as medical; and they even reach to the philosophical (...) and spiritual. On the whole, we seem pretty well adapted to our technology, at least on the face of it -- but there have always been doubts about whether the human soul thrives best in the oppressively technological world we have created for ourselves. (I am continually struck by how much time I have to spend fixing the machines that supposedly improve my life.). (shrink)
Francis Fukuyama's controversial new book, Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, has elicited varied reactions, but like it or not, it seems likely to be influential. Here are three opinions. —Ed.
In the past thirty years, the United States has undergone a profound transformation in its social structure: Crime has increased, trust has declined, families have broken down, and individualism has triumphed over community. Has the Great Disruption of recent decades rent the fabric of American society irreparably? In this brilliant and sweeping work of social, economic, and moral analysis, Francis Fukuyama shows that even as the old order has broken apart, a new social order is already taking its place. The (...) Great Disruption forges a new model for understanding the Great Reconstruction that is under way. (shrink)
The argument contained in The End of History and the Last Man consists of an empirical part and a normative part: critics have confused the two and their proper relationship. The assertion that we have reached the "end of history" is not a statement about the empirical condition of the world, but a normative argument concerning the justice or adequacy of liberal democratic political institutions. The normative judgment is critically dependent on empirical evidence concerning, for example, the workability of capitalist (...) and socialist economic systems, but ultimately rests on supra-empirical grounds. The empirical part concerns whether there is something like the Hegelian-Marxist concept of History as a coherent, directional evolution of human societies taken as a whole. The answer to this is yes, and lies in the phenomenon of economic modernization based on the directional unfolding of modern natural science. The latter has unified mankind to an unprecedented degree, and gives us a basis for believing that there will be a gradual spread of democratic capitalist institutions over time. This empirical conclusion, however, does no more than give us hope that there is a progressive character to world history, and does not prove the normative case. The normative grounding of modern liberal democracy has indeed been put in jeopardy by the philosophical "crisis of modernity" inaugurated by Nietzsche and Heidegger. Contemporary postmodernist critiques of the possibility of such a grounding have not, however, adequately come to terms with the destructive consequences of their views for liberal democratic societies. This aporia, discussed most seriously in the Strauss-Kojève debate, is the central intellectual issue of our age. (shrink)
: The technologies at the intersection of assisted reproduction and genetics call for a new regulatory approach, say Franco Furger and Francis Fukuyama, authors of the recent report Beyond Bioethics. In the essay below they map out their recommendation. In the following essays, James Fossett argues that regulation is likelier—and would be better—at the state level, Leonard Fleck calls for more robust public involvement, and John Robertson recommends sticking with the status quo. Turning from procedural to substantive issues, Josephine Johnston (...) takes up Furger and Fukuyama’s suggestion that children have a right to a traditional genetic parentage. (shrink)
Francis Fukuyama is one of the most significant political theorists of the past thirty years. Bursting into public awareness in 1989 with his provocative thesis about "the end of history," Fukuyama has made fascinating contributions to a wide range of subjects - the importance of trust in societies, the potential dangers of biotechnology, the development of political authority and the modern state, and most recently, the role of identity in politics. This book records a series of conversations with Fukuyama in (...) which he discusses his background and its role in shaping his thinking, the context and genesis of his major works, and his thoughts in light of the dramatic developments of the past decade, especially the rise of populism around the world. The result is a fascinating picture of a major intellectual. The book both provides an overview of Fukuyama's thought and reveals new insights into his best-known work. This book also allows readers to trace the themes which have animated Fukuyama's entire intellectual career. (shrink)
Moral leadership matters. As world politics enters a new and dangerous era, judgment, constancy, moral purpose, and a willingness to overcome partisan politicking are essential for America's leaders. Tempered Strength finds the alternative standard of leadership that Americans are seeking in the classical philosophy of prudence. Ethan Fishman's new work brings together leading American political scientists—including Ronald Beiner, Kenneth L. Deutsch, and George Anastaplo—to discuss the evolution of a standard of prudential leadership both reasonable in nature and practical in scope. (...) Section One studies the meaning of prudence and its evolution in the history of political science from Aristotelian phronesis to Xenophon, Thomas Aquinas, Edmund Burke, and Michael Oakeshott. Section Two demonstrates how the theory of prudential leadership can be applied to practical political issues. (shrink)
Hello, my name is Francis Fukuyama and I am delighted to be able to participate in this symposium at EAFIT, on The End of History? I am a Senior fellow at Stanford University and in the summer of 1989, I published an article in the journal The National Interest titled The End of History? 30 years have passed since the publication of this article and this was a good opportunity to reflect on what has happened to the state of global (...) democracy and global politics in those three decades. (shrink)