Progress in Science & Society: Workshop with P. Kitcher
June 14, 2017
Leibniz Universität Hannover (Biomolekulares Wirkstoffzentrum, BMWZ)
Is the notion of progress suitable to analyze such disparate endeavors as science, ethics, the economy or society as a whole? If so, what conceptual assumptions does such a notion require? In a recent contribution, Philip Kitcher suggested that progress has to be understood as the successful attempt to solve pragmatic problems. Consequently, whether or not a development can be called progressive depends on the contextual aims of the involved agents. Since these aims can legitimately vary, progress is a local phenomenon. However, Kitcher also pursues a universalist strategy: Pragmatic problem solving should help to realize the all-embracing goal of creating a good life for all. For Kitcher, this “Ethical Project” reaches back to the early stages of human evolution and serves as the ultimate touchstone for progress. Science, for instance, makes progress if it is devoted to problems of human wellbeing and if it finds solutions to these problems that promote practical realizations of the good life.
In a one day workshop at Leibniz Universität Hannover, we will discuss the merits and challenges of the notion of progress. A special emphasis will be put on progress in science and medicine as well as Kitchers conceptual work on progress. Philip Kitcher will give a keynote lecture at the workshop on “Progress in the Sciences and in the Arts”. Furthermore, he will give a public evening lecture on “Radical Pragmatism” on Monday, June 12 (university main building, Welfengarten 1, room B305).
If you wish to attend, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Attendance is free.