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Relative to sciences, measuring (or defining) progress in philosophy seems more complilcated. I also presume that more so than in sciences, what pushes a particular philosophical view/approach out of the mainstream may not be directly related to its merits as a theory but be due to other factors like sociopolitical ones (e.g. philosophy of religion). But of course, it could be that the nature of the problem is such that no meaningful progress can be made at this point in time (consciousness?)

And so here my question is whether progress in ethics has been made. Myself I imagine there has been some, because even if there are (and will always be) disagreements about values, we can still make progress by logically working out the consequences of adopting some, check how coherent the particular ethical stance is, etc.

And what about all the recent work on animal ethics, is that not progress forward from the philosophy of human rights and that too being progress itself? At the same time, I am aware that many religions and older philosophical systems hundreds of years ago too had their views about proper treatment of animals and people too and that it may be merely a reflection of our time and place (me in US in 2000s, for example) and not sign of philosophy's progress that this kind of work is being done now. In other words, progress in applied ethics and not other areas.

Anyhow, appreciate your views.

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    What would "progress" mean? That's a completely unclear notion in this context. Do we have better developed accounts of several types of ethical theories? yes (and answerable). Are we progressing towards some goal specific goal according to your trajectory (or my trajectory)? basically not suitable for SE. Please revise your question. – virmaior Nov 30 '16 at 6:26
  • In my intro I indicated what I meant by progress by comparing it to sciences. It's obviously not an exact term. For instance, this intro from encyclopedia of philosophy, for "scientific progress" says, "Science is often distinguished from other domains of human culture by its progressive nature: in contrast to art, religion, philosophy, morality, and politics, there exist clear standards or normative criteria for identifying improvements and advances in science. " – Jlente Nov 30 '16 at 6:28
  • Impossible to compare to the sciences in that way. What are the goals of philosophy is an open question in philosophy unlike say "what are the goals of physics" – virmaior Nov 30 '16 at 6:57
  • If by progress you mean better social values, then it is both yes and no. I think the question is vague and just like asking whether society is good or bad. Some social values which were regarded as good in yesteryears have decreased in recent years -thus pointing out to the no part. But, however, some social values, like abandonment of slavery, makes it appear like yes, there is some progress. – vidyarthi Nov 30 '16 at 8:05
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    @Isaacson Which would just mean you're some stripe of utilitarian and measure progress in that way... Not seeing how each projecting their own views onto philosophy equates to their being an agreed to set of goals that philosophical research (as a whole) is pursuing. – virmaior Nov 30 '16 at 13:40

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