Progress (history)

Progress (history)

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In historiography
Historiography
Historiography refers either to the study of the history and methodology of history as a discipline, or to a body of historical work on a specialized topic...

 and the philosophy of history
Philosophy of history
The term philosophy of history refers to the theoretical aspect of history, in two senses. It is customary to distinguish critical philosophy of history from speculative philosophy of history...

, progress (from Latin progressus, "an advance") is the idea that the world can become increasingly better in terms of science, technology, modernization, liberty, democracy, quality of life, etc. Although progress is often associated with the Western notion of monotonic
Monotonic function
In mathematics, a monotonic function is a function that preserves the given order. This concept first arose in calculus, and was later generalized to the more abstract setting of order theory....

 change in a straight, linear fashion, alternative conceptions exist, such as the cyclic theory of eternal return
Eternal return
Eternal return is a concept which posits that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time or space. The concept initially inherent in Indian philosophy was later found in ancient Egypt, and was subsequently...

, or the "spiral-shaped" dialectic
Dialectic
Dialectic is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that has been central to Indic and European philosophy since antiquity. The word dialectic originated in Ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato in the Socratic dialogues...

 progress of Hegel, Marx, et al.

Antiquity


Historian J. B. Bury
J. B. Bury
John Bagnell Bury , known as J. B. Bury, was an Irish historian, classical scholar, Byzantinist and philologist.-Biography:...

 argued that thought in ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 was dominated by the theory of world-cycles or the doctrine of eternal return, and was steeped in a belief parallel to the Judaic "fall of man
Original sin
Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

," but rather from a preceding "Golden Age
Golden Age
The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, and then the present, a period of decline...

" of innocence and simplicity. Time was generally regarded as the enemy of humanity which depreciates the value of the world. He credits the Epicureans
Epicureanism
Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus. His materialism led him to a general attack on superstition and divine intervention. Following Aristippus—about whom...

 with having had a potential for leading to the foundation of a theory of Progress through their materialistic acceptance of the atomism
Atomism
Atomism is a natural philosophy that developed in several ancient traditions. The atomists theorized that the natural world consists of two fundamental parts: indivisible atoms and empty void.According to Aristotle, atoms are indestructible and immutable and there are an infinite variety of shapes...

 of Democritus
Democritus
Democritus was an Ancient Greek philosopher born in Abdera, Thrace, Greece. He was an influential pre-Socratic philosopher and pupil of Leucippus, who formulated an atomic theory for the cosmos....

 as the explanation for a world without an intervening Deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

.
Robert Nisbet
Robert Nisbet
Robert Alexander Nisbet was an American sociologist, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Vice-Chancellor at the University of California, Riverside and as the Albert Schweitzer Professor at Columbia University.-Life:Nisbet was born in Los Angeles in 1913 and raised in the small...

 and Gertrude Himmelfarb
Gertrude Himmelfarb
Gertrude Himmelfarb , also known as Bea Kristol, is an American historian. She has written extensively on intellectual history, with a focus on Britain and the Victorian era, as well as on contemporary society and culture....

 have attributed a notion of progress to other Greeks. Xenophanes
Xenophanes
of Colophon was a Greek philosopher, theologian, poet, and social and religious critic. Xenophanes life was one of travel, having left Ionia at the age of 25 he continued to travel throughout the Greek world for another 67 years. Some scholars say he lived in exile in Siciliy...

 said "The gods did not reveal to men all things in the beginning, but men through their own search find in the course of time that which is better." Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

's Book III of The Laws depicts humanity's progress from a state of nature to the higher levels of culture, economy, and polity. Plato's The Statesman also outlines a historical account of the progress of mankind.

Renaissance


During the Medieval period, science was to a large extent based on Scholastic
Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

 interpretations of the master, Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

. The Renaissance of the 15th, 16th and 17th Centuries changed the mindset in Europe towards an empirical view, based on a pantheistic interpretation of Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

. This induced a revolution in curiosity about nature in general and scientific advance, which opened the gates for technical and economic advance. Furthermore, the individual potential was seen as a never-ending quest for being God-like, paving the way for a view of Man based on unlimited perfection and progress.

Enlightenment


The scientific advances of the 16th and 17th centuries provided a basis for the optimistic outlook of Bacon's 'New Atlantis.' In the 17th century Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle
Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle
Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle , also called Bernard Le Bouyer de Fontenelle, was a French author.Fontenelle was born in Rouen, France and died in Paris just one month before his 100th birthday. His mother was the sister of great French dramatists Pierre and Thomas Corneille...

 argued in favor of progress with respect to arts and the sciences, saying that each age has the advantage of not having to rediscover what was accomplished in preceding ages. The epistemology of John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

 provided support and was popularized by the Encyclopedists Diderot, Holbach, and Condorcet. Locke had a powerful influence on the American Founding Fathers.

In the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, French historian and philosopher Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 (1694–1778) was a major proponent of the possibility of progress. At first Voltaire's thought was informed by the Idea of Progress
Idea of Progress
In historiography, the Idea of Progress is the theory that advances in technology, science, and social organization inevitably produce an improvement in the human condition. That is, people can become happier in terms of quality of life through economic development , and the application of science...

 coupled with rationalism. His subsequent notion of the historical idea of progress saw science and reason as the driving forces behind societal advancement. The first complete statement of progress is that of Turgot, in his "A Philosophical Review of the Successive Advances of the Human Mind" (1750). For Turgot progress covers not simply the arts and sciences but, on their base, the whole of culture—manner, mores, institutions, legal codes, economy, and society.

Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

 (1724–1804), the Great German philosopher, argued that progress is neither automatic nor continuous and does not measure knowledge or wealth, but is a painful and largely inadvertent passage from barbarism through civilization toward enlightened culture and the abolition of war. Kant called for education, with the education of humankind seen as a slow process whereby world history propels mankind toward peace through war, international commerce, and enlightened self-interest.

Scottish theorist Adam Ferguson
Adam Ferguson
Adam Ferguson FRSE, also known as Ferguson of Raith was a Scottish philosopher, social scientist and historian of the Scottish Enlightenment...

 (1723–1816) defined human progress as the working out of a divine plan. The difficulties and dangers of life provided the necessary stimuli for human development, while the uniquely human ability to evaluate led to ambition and the conscious striving for excellence. But he never adequately analyzed the competitive and aggressive consequences stemming from his emphasis on ambition even though he envisioned man's lot as a perpetual striving with no earthly culmination. Man found his happiness only in effort.

American Revolution


The intellectual leaders of the American Revolution, such as Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

, Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States...

, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 and John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

, were immersed in Enlightenment thought and believed the idea of progress meant that they could reorganize the political system to the benefit of the human condition; both for Americans and also, as Jefferson put it, for an "Empire of Liberty
Empire of Liberty
The Empire of Liberty is a theme developed first by Thomas Jefferson to identify America's world responsibility to spread freedom across the globe. Jefferson saw America's mission in terms of setting an example, expansion into the west, and by intervention abroad...

" that would benefit all mankind. Thus was born the idea of inevitable American future progress.

The most original 'New World' contribution to historical thought was the idea that history is not exhausted but that man may begin again in a new world. Besides rejecting the lessons of the past, the Jeffersonians Americanized the idea of progress by democratizing and vulgarizing it to include the welfare of the common man as a form of republicanism
Republicanism
Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, where the head of state is appointed by means other than heredity, often elections. The exact meaning of republicanism varies depending on the cultural and historical context...

. As Romantics deeply concerned with the past, collecting source materials and founding historical societies, the Founding Fathers were animated by clear principles. They saw man in control of his destiny, saw virtue as a distinguishing characteristic of a republic, and were concerned with happiness, progress, and prosperity. Thomas Paine, combining the spirit of rationalism and romanticism, pictured a time when America's innocence would sound like a romance, and concluded that the fall of America could mark the end of 'the noblest work of human wisdom.'

That human liberty was put on the agenda of fundamental concerns of the modern world was recognized by the revolutionaries as well as by many British commentators. Yet, within two years after the adoption of the Constitution, the American Revolution had to share the spotlight with the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. The American Revolution was eclipsed, and, in the 20th century, lost its appeal even for subject peoples involved in similar movements for self-determination. Thus, its life as a model for political revolutions was relatively short. The reason for this development lies in the fact that its concerns and preoccupations were overwhelmingly political; economic demands and social unrest remained largely peripheral. After the middle of the 19th century, all political revolutions would ultimately have to involve themselves with social questions and become revolutions of modernization. But the American Colonies in the 1770s, in contrast to all other colonies, had been modern from the beginning. The American patriots were protecting the modernity and liberty they had already achieved, while later revolutions were fighting to obtain liberty for the first time. However, since so few modern revolutions have evinced much concern for the preservation and extension of human freedom, the American model may still come to provide a lesson for the future.

Social progress



Social progress is the idea that societies can or do improve in terms of their social, political, and economic structures. The concept of social progress was introduced in the early 19th century social theories
Social theory
Social theories are theoretical frameworks which are used to study and interpret social phenomena within a particular school of thought. An essential tool used by social scientists, theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies , as well as the primacy of...

, especially those of social evolutionists like Auguste Comte
Auguste Comte
Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier Comte , better known as Auguste Comte , was a French philosopher, a founder of the discipline of sociology and of the doctrine of positivism...

 and Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer was an English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era....

. It was present in the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

's philosophies of history
Philosophy of history
The term philosophy of history refers to the theoretical aspect of history, in two senses. It is customary to distinguish critical philosophy of history from speculative philosophy of history...

.

The big breakthrough to a new idea in Europe Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, when social commentators
Social commentary
Social commentary is the act of rebelling against an individual, or a group of people by rhetorical means, or commentary on social issues or society...

 and philosophers began to realize that people themselves could change society and change their way of life. Instead of being made completely by gods, there was increasing room for the idea that people themselves made their own society - and not only that, as Giambattista Vico
Giambattista Vico
Giovanni Battista ' Vico or Vigo was an Italian political philosopher, rhetorician, historian, and jurist....

 argued, because people practically made their own society, they could also fully comprehend it. This gave rise to new sciences, or proto-sciences, which claimed to provide new scientific knowledge about what society was like, and how one may change it for the better.
In turn, this gave rise to progressive
Progressivism
Progressivism is an umbrella term for a political ideology advocating or favoring social, political, and economic reform or changes. Progressivism is often viewed by some conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to be in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies.The...

 opinion, in contrast with conservative
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 opinion, according to which attempts to radically remake society normally make things worse.

Measurement of societal progress


There is a renewed interest in measuring progress. On the one hand side, GDP growth has become a key orientation for politics and is often taken as a key figure to evaluate a politician's performance. However, GDP has a number of flaws that make it a bad measure of progress, especially for developed countries. For example, environmental damages are not taken into account nor is the sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 of economic activity. Wikiprogress
Wikiprogress
Wikiprogress is a online platform for sharing information on the measurement of social, economic and environmental progress. It is thought to facilitate sharing on ideas, initiatives and knowledge on "measuring the progress of societies"...

 has been set up to share information on evaluating societal progress. It aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas, initiatives and knowledge.

Scientific progress


Scientific progress is the idea that science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 increases its problem solving ability through the application of some scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

.

Several Philosophers of Science
Philosophy of science
The philosophy of science is concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods and implications of science. It is also concerned with the use and merit of science and sometimes overlaps metaphysics and epistemology by exploring whether scientific results are actually a study of truth...

 have supported arguments that the progress of science is discontinuous. In that case, progress is not a continuous accumulation, but rather a revolutionary process where brand new ideas are adopted and old ideas become abandoned. Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Samuel Kuhn was an American historian and philosopher of science whose controversial 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was deeply influential in both academic and popular circles, introducing the term "paradigm shift," which has since become an English-language staple.Kuhn...

 was a major proponent of this model of scientific progress, as explained in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , by Thomas Kuhn, is an analysis of the history of science. Its publication was a landmark event in the history, philosophy, and sociology of scientific knowledge and it triggered an ongoing worldwide assessment and reaction in — and beyond — those scholarly...

.

Another model of Scientific Progress, as put forward by Richard Boyd
Richard Boyd
Richard Newell Boyd is an American philosopher who has spent most of his career at Cornell University, though he also taught briefly at Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of California, Berkeley...

, and others, is History of Science
History of science
The history of science is the study of the historical development of human understandings of the natural world and the domains of the social sciences....

 as a model of scientific progress. In short, methods in science are produced which are used to produce scientific theories, which then are used to produce more methods, which are then used to produce more theories and so on.

Note that this does not conflict with a continuous or discontinuous model of scientific progress. This model supports realism in that scientists are always working within the same universe; their theories must be referring to real objects, because they create theories that refer to actual objects that are used later in methods to produce new theories.

Philosophical progress


A prominent question in metaphilosophy
Metaphilosophy
Metaphilosophy, also called philosophy of philosophy, is the study of the nature, aims, and methods of philosophy. The term is derived from Greek word meta μετά and philosophía φιλοσοφία ....

 is the that of whether or not philosophical progress occurs, and more so, whether such progress in philosophy is even possible. It has even been disputed, most notably by Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

, whether genuine philosophical problems actually exist. The opposite has also been claimed, most notably by Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

, who held that such problems do exist, that they are solvable, and that he had actually found definite solutions to some of them.

Some philosophers believe that, unlike scientific
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 or mathematical problems
Unsolved problems in mathematics
This article lists some unsolved problems in mathematics. See individual articles for details and sources.- Millennium Prize Problems :Of the seven Millennium Prize Problems set by the Clay Mathematics Institute, six have yet to be solved:* P versus NP...

, no philosophical problem is truly solvable in the conventional sense, but rather problems in philosophy are often refined rather than solved. For example Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

, in his 1912 book The Problems of Philosophy
The Problems of Philosophy
The Problems of Philosophy is one of Bertrand Russell's attempts to create a brief and accessible guide to the problems of philosophy...

 says: "Philosophy is to be studied not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves."

However, this is not universally accepted amongst philosophers. For example Martin Cohen, in his 1999 iconoclastic account of philosophy, 101 Philosophy Problems
101 Philosophy Problems
101 Philosophy Problems is a book by Martin Cohen published by Routledge in 1999. It has had three English editions and been translated into German, Dutch, Greek, Estonian, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and other languages. The German translation has alone run to three editions,...

, offers as the penultimate problem, the question of whether or not 'The problem with philosophy problems is that they don't have proper solutions'. He goes on to argue that there is a fundamental divide in philosophy between those who think philosophy is about clarification and those who think it is about recognising complexity.

The Idea of Progress


In historiography
Historiography
Historiography refers either to the study of the history and methodology of history as a discipline, or to a body of historical work on a specialized topic...

, the Idea of Progress is the theory that advances in technology, science, and social organization inevitably produce an improvement in the human condition. That is, people can become happier in terms of quality of life (social progress
Social progress
Social progress is the idea that societies can or do improve in terms of their social, political, and economic structures. This may happen as a result of direct human action, as in social enterprise or through social activism, or as a natural part of sociocultural evolution...

) through economic development and the application of science and technology (scientific progress
Scientific progress
Scientific progress is the idea that science increases its problem solving ability through the application of some scientific method.-Discontinuous Model of Scientific Progress:...

). The assumption is that the process will happen once people apply their reason and skills, for it is not divinely foreordained. The role of the expert is to identify hindrances that slow or neutralize progress.

Historian J. B. Bury wrote in 1920:
Sociologist Robert Nisbet
Robert Nisbet
Robert Alexander Nisbet was an American sociologist, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Vice-Chancellor at the University of California, Riverside and as the Albert Schweitzer Professor at Columbia University.-Life:Nisbet was born in Los Angeles in 1913 and raised in the small...

 finds that "No single idea has been more important than...the Idea of Progress in Western civilization for three thousand years.", and defines five "crucial premises" of Idea of Progress:
  1. value of the past
  2. nobility of Western civilization
  3. worth of economic/technological growth
  4. faith in reason and scientific/scholarly knowledge obtained through reason
  5. intrinsic importance and worth of life on earth.


The Idea of Progress emerged primarily in the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 in the 18th century, although some scholars like Nisbet (1980) have traced it to ancient Christian notions. The theory of evolution in the nineteenth century made progress a necessary law of nature and gave the doctrine its first conscious scientific form. The idea was challenged by the 20th century realization that destruction, as in the two world wars, could grow out of technical progress.

The Idea of Progress was promoted by classical liberals in the 19th century, who called for the rapid modernization of the economy and society to remove the traditional hindrances to free markets and free movements of people. John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher, economist and civil servant. An influential contributor to social theory, political theory, and political economy, his conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of...

's (1806–73) ethical and political thought assumed a great faith in the power of ideas and of intellectual education for improving human nature or behavior. For those who do not share this faith the very idea of progress becomes questionable.

The influential English philosopher Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer was an English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era....

 (1820–1903) in The Principles of Sociology (1876) and The Principles of Ethics (1879) proclaimed a universal law of socio-political development: societies moved from a military organization to a base in industrial production. As society evolved, he argued, there would be greater individualism, greater altruism, greater co-operation, and a more equal freedom for everyone. The laws of human society would produce the changes, and he said the only role for government was military police, and enforcement of civil contracts in courts. Many libertarians adopted his perspective.

Further reading

  • Alexander, Jeffrey C. Piotr Sztompka, and Unwin Hyman. Rethinking Progress: Movements, Forces, and Ideas at the End of the 20th Century (1990) online edition
  • Burgess, Yvonne. The Myth of Progress (1994)
  • Bury, B. J. The Idea of Progress (1920) classic history, stressing 18th century. online edition archive.org edition in facsimile
  • Csikszentmihalyi, M. "The Mythic Potential of Evolution," Journal of Religion and Science 2000, Vol. 35, pp. 25–38.
  • Montague David Eder
    Montague David Eder
    Montague David Eder was a British psychoanalyst, physician, Zionist and writer. He was best known for advancing psychoanalytic studies in Great Britain.- Education and medical training :...

    . "The Myth of Progress" The British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1932, Vol. 12I, p. 1+
  • Kauffman, Bill. With Good Intentions? Reflections on the Myth of Progress in America (1998) online edition
  • Lasch, Christopher. The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics (1991) online edition
  • Lange, Margaret Meek. "Progress", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/progress/
  • Mathiopoulos, Margarita. History and Progress: In Search of the European and American Mind (1989) online edition
  • Melzer, Arthur M. et al. eds. History and the Idea of Progress (1995), conservative scholars discuss Machiavelli, Kant, Nietsche, Spengler and others online edition
  • Nisbet, Robert. "The Idea of Progress," Literature of Liberty 1979 2(1): 7–37, online edition
    • Nisbet, Robert. History of the Idea of Progress (1980)
  • Sklair, Leslie. The Sociology of Progress (1970). online edition
  • Spadafora, David. The Idea of Progress in Eighteenth Century Britain (1990),
  • Georg Henrik von Wright
    Georg Henrik von Wright
    Georg Henrik von Wright was a Finnish philosopher, who succeeded Ludwig Wittgenstein as professor at the University of Cambridge. He published in English, Finnish, German, and in Swedish. Belonging to the Swedish-speaking minority of Finland, von Wright also had Finnish and 17th-century Scottish...

    . The Philosophy of Georg Henrik von Wright ed. by Lewis Edwin Hahn and Paul Arthur Schilpp (1999)
  • Zarandi, Merhdad M., ed. Science and the Myth of Progress (2004)