In his account of the Lagado Academy, what basic philosophical position is Gulliver mocking?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this section of the novel, Swift satirizes imprudent scientific experimentation and criticizes the Royal Society in London as well as the University of Leiden (the school, we are told, that Gulliver attended) and the Dublin Philosophical Society. Many of the experiments that take place in Lagado seem completely ridiculous—attempting to extract sunbeams from cucumbers, returning human fecal matter to the original foods that produced it, employing spiders to weave silk usable by humans—and so Swift seems to suggest that science for its own sake, without any real benefit to offer or any way in which the experiment will serve humanity, is equally silly and useless. Futile, fruitless projects like attempting to breed sheep which do not grow wool is a waste of energy, resources, time, and brainpower; thus, Swift satirizes many new scientific endeavors as likewise absurd and unnecessary.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial