Jedediah S. Purdy is a senior correspondent of The American Prospect and a second-year student at Yale Law School. Purdy started with the Prospect as a writing fellow, writing about culture, technology, politics, and the environment. His 1998 articles include "Age of Irony" on a generation that refuses to take itself seriously, and "Dolly and Madison" on the ethics of cloning.
His first book, For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today, was published by Knopf in September 1999. His current research addresses agriculture, environmental sustainability, and the place of work in American culture. He has also been working on conceptions of human excellence in democratic politics. In 1999 he was a faculty member at the Century Institute Summer Program on America's liberal and progressive political traditions.
Purdy was born and raised on a hillside farm in central West Virginia. Until age 14, he taught himself by reading, exploring the local woods and meadows, and working alongside his parents and younger sister. After a checkered high school career that eventually took him to Phillips Exeter Academy, he returned to West Virginia, where he worked as a carpenter and spent a year in environmental politics.
In 1997 he graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in social studies. In 1996 he was selected as a Truman Scholar and as West Virginia's nominee for the Rhodes Scholarship.
The surprising impact of popular movements on judicial doctrinesJedediah PurdyApr 10, 2017
The cloning debate has highlighted moral questions that are likely only to become even more difficult as biotechnology advances: What should be the line between permissible and impermissible genetic interventions? Is our bedrock belief in human equality about to break down?Jedediah PurdyMay-June 1998
Wired magazine says with new technology we'll all be like gods and should get good at it. That apparently means feeling no restraint -- if something looks good, do it, buy it, invent it, become it. Where have we heard this before?Jedediah PurdyMarch-April 1998