we can we know that progress is neither impossible nor inevitable? The book performs a broad historical survey. This analysis hinges on an argument that it is indeed possible - indeed relatively straightforward - to identify what most people would consider as progressive with respect to a broad range of phenomena: higher incomes, less disease, more freedom, and cleaner environments. The book then evaluates whether progress has been achieved with respect to a wide array of phenomena over three time periods: the last couple of decades, the last couple of centuries, and the last couple of millennia. Regardless of the time period chosen, progress is observed for many phenomena, regress for many others, and both/neither for still others. Note that such a broad historical survey has never previously been performed. One important purpose of this survey is to overcome simplistic treatments of the subject of human progress: optimists all too often emphasize economic advances while pessimists stress environmental or cultural regress. Discourse regarding the possibility of human progress would be better grounded in a more nuanced understanding of human history.
http://www.amazon.com/Restoring-Human-Progress-Rick-Szostak/dp/1907962700 For the purposes of this book, the survey serves a further critical purpose. Confidence in human progress can only be restored if viable policies exist to encourage this in those areas in which regress has been observed over at least one of the three historical time periods. Too much of the discourse on human progress assumes that certain types of progress - economic or political or cultural - are all-important. Widespread belief in progress requires a program that works toward progress across all phenomena. The final chapters of the book outline such a set of strategies. That is, for each phenomenon for which regress is observed historically it is asked whether there are strategies for achieving future progress. In some cases, the way forward is already fairly clear. In other cases it is necessary to perform further research in order to identify the path forward. Yet in all cases it is possible to hold out reasonable hope of future progress. And notably the various strategies are complementary: progress can be achieved across all phenomena. As noted above these various strategies do not depend on any simple ideology. The book is thus in full accord with postmodern suspicion of meta-narratives (grand explanations of everything or at least many things) while nevertheless transcending postmodern nihilism. It thus holds out hope for a brighter future, but a hope grounded in an appreciation of the complexity of the world rather than some over-simplistic ideology or grand theory."
I know nothing about this competition. It just arrived in my inbox. There is, however, an environmental component and an option to be pro or con the proposed framework. So, fyi. Trish Clay ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Neil Paul Cummins Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 Subject: [ENVIRO-L] Fwd: The Andrew Cole International Prize Essay Competition 2013 To: ENVIRO-L@listserv.ua.edu FYI: ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Cranmore P <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 3:52 PM Subject: The Andrew Cole International Prize Essay Competition 2013 To: PHILOSOP@louisiana.edu Please feel free to forward to interested parties: # # # # # The Andrew Cole International Prize Essay Competition 2013 Congratulations to Peter Xavier Price from The Sussex Centre for Intellectual History who won the 2011 running of the competition for his essay: ‘Human Specialness’: The Historical Dimension & the Historicisation of Humanity. I am excited to announce that the 2013 competition is now open. The theme of the competition is: Restoring Human Progress In his 2012 book Restoring Human Progress, Professor Rick Szostak (University of Alberta) outlines an interdisciplinary framework for restoring human progress. This framework contains proposals for reforming economics, culture, public policy, art, politics and science. It provides a roadmap for moving forward on ecological, technological, ethical, social and environmental issues. Entries are sought which critically engage with Professor Szostak’s view concerning how human progress can be restored. Papers can either be sympathetic or critical of Professor Szostak’s view, and they can vary in scope from covering his entire framework to covering just one particular reform proposal. The winning essay will receive a prize of £200 and the plan is to publish it in 2014. Essays which are not successful, but that are of a high standard, may also be published with the winning essay. Full details of the competition, and of Restoring Human Progress, can be found here (click on the image below the image of the book cover): www.amazon.com/dp/1907962700/refosim?tag=cranmorpublic-20 Restoring Human Progress: http://www.cranmorepublications.co.uk/70 # # # # # -- http://neilpaulcummins.blogspot.co.uk/ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Neil-Paul-Cummins/333142776758442 https://twitter.com/#!/neilpaulcummins http://www.linkedin.com/in/neilpaulcummins -- *Dr. Patricia M. Clay* *Anthropologist* *NOAA Fisheries* Patricia.M.Clay@ <email@example.com>noaa <firstname.lastname@example.org>. <email@example.com>gov<firstname.lastname@example.org> ** 301.427.8116 www <http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/>. <http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/>nmfs<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/> . <http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/>noaa <http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/>.<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/> gov <http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/>**