Theories of Social Progress: A Critical Study of the Attempts to Formulate the Conditions of Human Advance

Theories of Social Progress: A Critical Study of the Attempts to Formulate the Conditions of Human Advance

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Theories of Social Progress: A Critical Study of the Attempts to Formulate the Conditions of Human Advance

Theories of Social Progress: A Critical Study of the Attempts to Formulate the Conditions of Human Advance

Read FREE!

Excerpt

From Comte onward sociologists have pretty generally agreed that the only justification for a Science of Society is its contributions to a workable theory of progress. Hence they have attempted each in his own way to formulate such a theory and to float it. But historians, economists, philosophers, and biologists as well have been for a hundred years past laying down what they considered to be the necessary conditions of human improvement. So far we have had in English no easily accessible comprehensive digest or summary of these widely scattered and divergent materials. This volume essays to bring together the most important contributions of English, American, and Continental writers to the literature of social progress. But it is more than a mere digest; it attempts at least a critical analysis and an evaluation. Events have conferred a certain timeliness upon such a study; for when the human values of a whole world are cast into the crucible, as in the present war, it becomes imperative that the world be rebuilt according to some sounder principles, principles which will make the world safer and assure its improvement. Under such circumstances the study of the underlying facts of human progress is no mere academic performance; it is an issue forced upon all thinking men by dint of a world in arms.

Even a superficial survey of three centuries of opinion reveals that the attitude toward social progress varies, like that towards God, from blind acceptance of it as the . . .

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