The name `Thomas Jefferson' keeps appearing on the ends of quotes that I've thought were particularly profound and important. I know who he was, of course, but I must admit I've never read any of his longer works. What book would people recommend that could introduce me to his political philosophies?
Previously, I'd found a similarly prolific rate of profundities from another author from the same era, David Hume. Much like Jefferson, he seemed to have a knack for presciently unearthing the most important features of human nature. Rather than politics, Hume's areas were psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and religion.
For Hume, I picked up his `Natural History of Religion' and it blew my mind. I was right! The man was a genius. Though he professes theism in his essays (I'm an atheist), his analysis of the psychology of religion was incredible. Having studied religious psychology, I found that Hume predicted perhaps 80% of the major findings in this field... but 250 years earlier.
So, I suppose I'm looking for a similarly mind-blowing book from Jefferson if that makes any sense.
Also, what geniuses have others found that could be seen to have shaped modern culture with the clarity and originality of their thoughts?
I haven't read Jefferson except in quotations but I share your assessment of David Hume. There are not many in the same league, but since you are open to suggestions, I'll offer Karl Popper as one of the most insightful and precision-clear philosophers of the 20th century.
I'd highly recommend if you can obtain the book 'Outlook for Homo Sapiens' by H.G.Wells. Rivetting stuff!
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville was a French political thinker and historian best known for his works Democracy in America, appearing in two volumes: 1835 and 1840) and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856).
http://www.biographyonline.net/people/f … nment.html
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