Study Questions on Gould's 2nd preface to
Questioning the Millennium

1. What is Pierre-Simon Laplace's contribution to the study millennia?

2. What false implications does Gould see in Laplace's theories?

3. What are Gould's arguments for principled unpredictability in the world?

4. What is the theory of contingency?

5. What does Gould mean by "tragic optimism"? How does this relate to the concept of millennium?

These questions were prepared by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students in Honors 210 "Reading Through the Millennia" at Monmouth College. If you have any questions about this material, you can contact him at