A Conflict of Visions

By Thomas Sowell,

Book cover of A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles

Book description

In this classic work, Thomas Sowell analyzes 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. He describes how…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

3 authors picked A Conflict of Visions as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Liberals and conservatives strongly disagree on the appropriate scope of government. No book has helped me understand why more than Thomas Sowell’s Conflict of Visions.

He describes how the ideological difference results from disagreements about the malleability of human nature. The unconstrained vision, typically associated with liberals, sees human nature as altruistic and perfectible. The government should be used expansively to promote social justice and equality to realize this vision. 

In contrast, the constrained vision, typically associated with conservatives, sees human nature as limited, selfish, and imperfectible. The government should play a limited role in society, as elites cannot hope…

From John's list on explaining political polarization.

I have learned as much from conservative authors as I have from writers who share my ideological predispositions.

In his classic book, economist Thomas Sowell seeks to answer the question of why we are so divided on a number of political issues.

Sowell outlines two competing visions that underlie most controversial areas of public policy – one that is “constrained” by history, tradition, and a skeptical view of human nature and another “unconstrained” by limits and thus malleable and perfectible.

In addition to being fascinating philosophically, the book is very useful challenge for those who are most confident in the…

I have learned as much from conservative authors as I have from writers who share my ideological predispositions.

In his classic book, economist Thomas Sowell seeks to answer the question of why we are so divided on a number of political issues.

Sowell outlines two competing visions that underlie most controversial areas of public policy – one that is “constrained” by history, tradition, and a skeptical view of human nature and another “unconstrained” by limits and thus malleable and perfectible.

In addition to being fascinating philosophically, the book is very useful challenge for those who are most confident in the…

Want books like A Conflict of Visions?

Our community of 11,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like A Conflict of Visions.

Browse books like A Conflict of Visions

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in value in economics, human nature, and social justice?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about value in economics, human nature, and social justice.

Value In Economics Explore 15 books about value in economics
Human Nature Explore 30 books about human nature
Social Justice Explore 77 books about social justice