Progress SVG (lat. progressus – forward movement, success) – the direction of development from the lowest to the highest, progressive movement forward, increasing the level of organization, complication of the way of organization, characterized by an increase in internal connections. The opposite is regression.
Social/social progress is a global, world-historical process of ascent of human societies from primitive states (savagery) to the tops of civilized state based on the highest scientific-technical, political-legal, moral-ethical achievements.
Researchers view progress as a multidimensional and non-linear process that is not always identical to the uniform ascending progressive motion from simple forms of matter to more complex ones.
The challenge of measuring Progress SVG
The philosopher Margaret Mick Lang in the Stanford Philosophical Encyclopedia highlights three issues around which progress is being discussed. The first question is normative: does a theory of progress define the concept of human well-being and, if so, how? The second question concerns the social sciences: what are the reasons for historical improvements and what are the laws of historical development? The third question is methodological or epistemological: what is the theoretical evidence or basis for the theory of progress?
Progress theorists tend to adhere to one of two approaches to well-being, which is understood either in terms of value monism, as the only value, or from opposite positions – as a set of empirically connected incommensurable values. In the first case, the value can be freedom, happiness, usefulness or realization of human abilities. In the second case, multiple values may or may not be related to each other. Based on the difficulty of the task, some theorists try not to formulate a precise definition of well-being, although they put forward some concepts of progress, which propose causal explanations for historical improvements. Modern discussions of progress are based on the ideas of the age of Enlightenment, when the concept of world (or universal) history was formulated, and humanity was considered as its subject. Theorists of general history tried to find the fundamental laws of historical development, not only explaining the past, but also predicting the future.
The content of the laws of progress was understood differently: while Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel or Auguste Cont considered the development of ideas leading to improvement, Karl Marx, on the contrary, drew attention to the growth of material means of production. Immanuel Kant believed that human nature was a source of change. More complex causal versions were often offered, and conclusions were not always formalized. Views on periods of decline also differ; some theorists, while not fully asserting linear development, stressed that deviations from the main vector do not cancel long-term improvement. Some authors have tended to be deterministic in explaining historical events, while others have noted the role of chance, often linking political interference with the ability to change the future. Thinkers generally used one of two methods: a priori reflection or generalization of empirical facts.
The idea of Progress SVG before the New Times
There is no consensus among scientists as to whether or not there was a vision of progress in ancient times. For a long time it was believed that the ancient authors did not know this concept, although the opposite point of view was also expressed. R. Nisbeth draws attention to the myth of Prometheus, which includes the idea of moving from need to prosperity, glorifies human ingenuity and contains the prerequisites for the deployment of progress over time. One way or another, the views of the most important thinkers of antiquity were very different from those of the modern world. Plato and Aristotle have followed a cyclical approach, believing that development occurs spontaneously and disasters and decay are inevitable, and they return in the form of natural disasters or disease. Society begins with the family and comes to the policy – the only decent form of social organization. At the same time, there is no tendency towards its establishment, nor is there any stable form of political system. In the dialogue “Politician” Plato cites a famous Greek myth about the Golden Age, the history of the gradual decline and degeneration of five generations of people (the myth is written by Hesiod in “Labor and Days”). According to Plato, the change of centuries is associated with the movement of the earth, which affects the attention of the gods; after the golden age, the gods left people to themselves.
The third influential philosopher of antiquity, Christian thinker Aurelius Augustine presented a radically new, linear view of history, rejecting the cyclical approach and doctrine of eternal return. According to his essay “On the City of God”, the birth, death and resurrection of Christ is a unique event; some people will find eternal life in the “City of God”, others will be sentenced to an eternal curse in the “City of Earth”. The linearity of this approach is similar to later concepts of progress, but in contrast, the history of Augustine’s salvation aims to save only part of humanity and remains within the Christian religion.
Progress SVG Development of the concept
The idea that humanity is developing along the path of increasing political and social progress appears in the Age of Enlightenment (though Voltaire and Montesquieu do not yet have it, and it has become popular with late enlighteners). The first to present a consistent theory of progress was Abbot Saint-Pierre in his book “Comments on the Continuous Progress of the General Mind” (1737). The great French philosophy of history of the second half of the XVIII century, which began with the “Discourse on the consistent progress of the human mind” by Tyurgo (1750) and crowned with “Sketches of the historical picture of the progress of the human mind” by Condorcé (1794), fits into the ideological background of positivism. At the same time, the proponent of Türgo’s enlightened despotism will retain faith in the providence of God as the source of the general course of history, while in the works of his anticlerical disciple Condorsa the pure natural law of progress has come into force, which, as the author noted with some caution, “is almost as reliable as the law of nature.
From the point of view of Marxism, progress is a movement of nature and society based on the laws of dialectics towards greater integrity and complexity, harmony and structural order, towards a more perfect society based on overcoming the alienation of man and the full realization of his creative potential (“Criticism of the Gothic program”, “Capital”, “Economic and philosophical manuscripts of 1844”). According to Lenin’s opinion, “it is undialectical, unscientific and theoretically incorrect to imagine a world history going smoothly and accurately forward, without giant leaps backwards sometimes”.