Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter (A) April 18, 2016

Über den Fortschritt

Philip Kitcher

Abstract

This paper offers a general approach to the concept of progress, illustrating it by two examples. The first focuses on the least controversial instance of progress, in the domain of the natural sciences. The second considers the notion of ethical progress, a notion viewed as fundamental to the understanding of social progress. At the heart of my approach is a distinction between the ambitious idea of teleological progress, and a more modest concept of pragmatic progress. The last two sections turn to the concept of social progress, identifying the spread of capacities for an autonomously chosen valuable life as the key. Standard economic measures of progress are often poor guides to social progress in my sense, and there are serious questions about whether contemporary socio-economic institutions are antipathetic to social progress.

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Published Online: 2016-4-18
Published in Print: 2016-4-1

© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston