ABSTRACT

One of the most significant facets of Jonathan Swift's anticipation of Enlightenment thinking is his criticism of the narrative of progress that accompanies scientific and technological innovation. In Book III of Gulliver's Travels (1726), Swift criticizes the narrative of progress for inoculating all scientific endeavors from criticism and for casting itself as inevitably and inherently good. Here I argue that Swift depicts science to possess an absolutist tendency that can easily bleed into politics, hastily rationalizing a drastic overhaul of society in accordance with its aims.