‘Man the Unknown’ (1935) by Nobel Prize winning biologist Alexis Carrel is a work of philosophy written by a “man of science” which attempts to provide an understanding of the human being in terms of what is known and can be known and the unknown nature of man. Alexis Carrel (1873 – 1944) was a French surgeon and biologist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. Carrel worked in both the United States and Europe where he spent time at the Rockefeller Instititute for Medical Research. This book considers the need for a better knowledge of man, maintaining that man in fact largely remains an unknown. Carrel expresses concerns over the rise of the modern world and the growth of large cities and modern forms of entertainment. Carrel sees much of modernity as having a degenerative effect on mankind, leading to the rise of a vast unproductive class, a level of degeneracy among the children of vast fortunes, and an increase in nervous disorders and feeble-mindedness as well as criminal activity. Carrel explains man in terms of his physiology and biology and explains how these sciences relate to his psychology. Carrel also explains the role of science but also argues for faith and notes results obtained in the field of parapsychology. Carrel advocates a eugenics intellectual elite be set up to guide human breeding and advocates harsh measures be taken against criminal activity, including the death penalty for the worst sorts of criminal activity.
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