In 1987, historian Russell Jacoby, in his book The Last Intellectuals, mourned the departure of a generation of public intellectuals and thinkers, that included, among others, the recently deceased Ralf Dahrendorf and people such as Václav Černý and Jan Patocka.
At the same time, however, he grieved over the domination of public space by cold academics. John Brockman on the other hand argues that the new public intellectuals in the early twenty-first century are the thinkers of the third culture, those scientists who, in accessible works, write about serious topics, such as the artificial self, natural selection, or syndromes of power and pride. The third culture calls for significant change. To what?
This issue is addressed Karel Hvížďala in his essay.