Ferris' book The Science of Liberty: Democracy, Reason, and the Laws of Nature is about the symbiotic relationship between science and liberalism. His liberalism was Lockean. One can do anything but bridge other's rights. Science can only thrive in a liberal environment. And, liberalism needs science for health, wealth and happiness.
Lynn Hunt's Inventing Human Rights posits that rights are self evident. Reason made this realization clear. But all of these ideas had to be learned. Novels allowed much of this learning to occur.