A vision of the future spreads across the land—a vision of benevolence, progress, and inevitability, endorsed by the highest authorities in science, technology, culture, and politics. Barack Obama and Donald Trump sing its praises; government bureaucracies join the wealthiest corporations and the dominant media to swell the chorus. It is a vision of the goodness, efficiency, and inevitability of the driverless car. In Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road, Matthew Crawford invites us to think about the realities of this vision, while we sleepwalk toward its fulfillment as if it really were inevitable, which it isn’t, and good, which it might not be.

The vision of the driverless car is just one current example of a larger vision that has spread across the world in recent centuries, the vision of “progress” toward the supposedly inevitable “new” that is waiting around every corner. Whatever benefits the driverless car may have to offer, Crawford wants us to consider what we will lose when driving comes to be outlawed. More generally, he wants us to consider what part of our humanity is lost when we think of our world and our place in it as governed by “progress.” And he wants us to think about this “vision”: How does it come to be so powerful? What is behind it? Is it possible

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