02 Nov 15

In this lecture, philosopher Philip Kitcher explores the concept of social progress by proposing that we should think of progress pragmatically, in terms of overcoming problems rather than as directed towards some ideal state. Following Dewey, he sees these problems as arising from changes in the environment- physical, social, and cultural- which undermine once adaptive institutions and patterns of behavior. Partial solutions to these problems sometimes require a fundamental rethinking of these institutions and patterns of behavior. Kitcher will illustrate these themes with respect to the contemporary state of democracy, global inequality, and climate change. Introduction by Thomas Schmidt, Professor of Philosophy, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin