Antti Lepistö




I am an intellectual historian specializing in twentieth-century American thought. My research interests include the history of American conservatism; the culture wars; the reception of the Scottish Enlightenment philosophies of common sense, the moral sense, and moral sentiments; the impact of modern public opinion polling on conservative thought; and the interaction between science and politics in general. My first book, The Rise of Common-Sense Conservatism: The American Right and the Reinvention of the Scottish Enlightenment, was published by the University of Chicago Press in the spring of 2021. My current work examines how America's intellectual right responded to, and came to terms with, the post-World War II era's rising culture of pollingnamely, the ever-increasing presence of Gallup surveys and scientific ideas about public opinion in American life. I received my PhD in history from the University of Helsinki in 2019.


  • American intellectual history
  • History of conservatism
  • History of the culture wars
  • History of the human sciences
  • Legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment
  • History of concepts



  • The Rise of Common-Sense Conservatism: The American Right and the Reinvention of the Scottish Enlightenment (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2021)


Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Darwinian Conservatives and Westermarck’s Ethics: A Political Dimension of the Late Twentieth-Century Westermarckian Renaissance,” in Evolution, Human Behaviour and Morality: The Legacy of Westermarck, ed. Olli Lagerspetz et al., (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017), 194-208.
  • “Revisiting the Left-Wing Response to Sociobiology: The Case of Finland in a European Context,” Journal of the History of Biology 48, 1 (2015): 99-136.
  • “Rauhan biologit: darwinismi suomalaisessa yhteiskunnallisessa ajattelussa 1970- ja 1980-luvulla,” Historiallinen Aikakauskirja 1/2011: 4-28.
  • “Evoluutiokiistat ja historian käyttö,” Niin & Näin 2/2011: 103-106.
  • “Biologi för krig, biologi för fred: den finländska darwinismdebatten på 1970- och 1980-talen,” Laboratorium för folk & kultur 1/2011: 21-26.


Publications intended for the general public