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Any suggested reading on the Idea of Progress? I am thinking of the idea that sprung within the West and during the Enlightenment, that promoted the belief that humanity (or at least parts of it) are in a constant, albeit intermittent, path to betterment. This idea does not seem to exist before this time or outside the bounds of the West.

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  • That betterment brought people closed to monkeys. Proved Darwin's theory but in reverse. What progress do you mean ? Science is at a scam-halt, general products are of the lowest quality ever recorded in history and humans are more sick than ever. – Overmind May 23 '18 at 11:27
  • The so-called neo-Thomists were contra this line of thought. E.g J. Maritain. We can probably add Alasdair Macintyre too. || Also anti-modern were Heidegger and Gadamer (though not to the extent of Heidegger). In France, at least Derrida. || On the side of the Enlightenment project, Habermas. Good book: Title: The philosophical discourse of modernity : twelve lectures Author: Habermas, Jürgen. Publisher:MIT Press,Pub date:c1987. – Gordon May 23 '18 at 22:02
  • We discussed cyclical history recently philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/51998/… Rome fell. China went through a phase of powerlessness. The world wars burned up much of the booty from colonialism. Progress as inevitable sounds like 'an end to boom and bust', expansion and contraction, development and destruction, seem to be inevitable parts of economies and social development. Progress is a historically-bound phenomena which could be unravelled by dystopias, war, or varied apocalypses. We may be modern trilobytes – CriglCragl May 23 '18 at 23:36
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA Thanks! Very helpful links. – Mike M May 24 '18 at 9:19
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There is an unsurveyable amount of writings on The Idea of progress, on progress in general or in some distinct area. Sweepingly, one may be tempted to assert that the West progresses uniformly ever since the antiquity even if the Dark Ages appear definitely to be a period of regress (see. e.g. Ian Morris and his data). A briefest overview is Reinhard Koselleck's "Progress" and "Decline'': An Appendix to the History of Two Concepts (Practice of Intell. Hist. p218-35). The Idea of Progress ed. by A. Burgen, P. McLaughlin, J. Mittelstrass (1997) is a collection of essays by notable contemporary authors.

A recent work by Daniel Špelda, Veritas filia temporis: The origins of the idea of scientific progress (Annals of Sci, 2016) proposed an original development which merits some attention and also provides good references.

  • The Dark Ages is a name primarily about the lack of records, rather than of progress – CriglCragl May 23 '18 at 23:38
  • @Crigl Yes, it's just a name, they were able to do Feynman integrals, but we lack records of that. (Added a link to Morris & data). – sand1 May 24 '18 at 9:11
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In Ancient Greece there were no term corresponding to the modern one for progress.

In spite of this, there are many ideas and beliefs that we must consider :

both dissonant with the modern idea of progress.

But there were alsio the myth of Prometheus, which conveys the idea that man has risen and not fallen, stressing man's intellectual progress.

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    You call the Golden Age & Eternal return myths, but not progress..? – CriglCragl May 23 '18 at 23:39

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