Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments


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Progress: Progress is an everyday expression for the positive assessment of a state change with regard to an implicitly or explicitly assumed goal. In the sciences, one speaks more neutrally, e.g. of a progressive course of disease. This refers to a combination of more or less typical stages in a time course. The expression "progress" is not applied when a course is entirely untypical. See also history, Enlightenment, process, science.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
IV 112
Thinking/Progress/Gould: progress in science requires new ways of thinking. Examples: See Natural Laws/Lyell, Gradualism/Gould.
IV 186
Progress/Evolution/Gould: there is no progress in evolution to better individuell parts: The eyes of the trilobites, for example, have never been reached in their complexity or sharpness by the later anthropodes, let alone surpassed.
III 16
Progress/life/trends: new trends may be explained by a change in the range of variations of entire systems.(instead of individual entities within the systems). Just an inversion of terms, not a mathematical procedure.
Gould thesis: Evolution: The history of life as a whole is not marked by progress! Not even by a directed evolutionary force.
III 34
Progress/Gould: some assume a development towards complexity or differentiation. Gould: even for these earmarked replacement terms, progress cannot be defined as the main impulse of life.
We have the need to view evolution as predictable and progress-oriented.
Thesis: the human is not the crown of creation - Trend: there are more and more animals in evolution - the time of the human is simply short ((s)GouldVsAnthropic principle; > Anthropic Principle).
III 39
It is a mistake to understand evolution as an ascending ladder. Bacteria: are actually no less complex than we are.
III 86
Trend: not walking a path, but a complex series of transitions or lateral steps.
III 92
The trend is not a ladder, but a chain of reinforcements.
III 89
Success/Evolution: what are real "success stories" in evolution? E.g. rats, bats, antelopes. These three groups dominate the world of mammals, both in number and ecological distribution.
Most successful: Bony fish: almost 50% of all vertebrate species. There are hundreds of times as many bony fish species as the primates and five times as many as all mammals put together.
III 121
Progress/Sport/Gould: Improved performance: finally Asymptote: Remarkable: women have a much steeper improvement curve than the men.
Progress/livestock breeding: often 13% per year. The breeding of thoroughbred horses is economically more interesting than all other breeding projects! It can therefore be assumed that thoroughbred horses have long since reached their optimum.
III 123
Sports/Progress: the records in the running disciplines (200 10,000) have improved by the same relative amount regardless of distance: namely from 5.69 7.57 metres per minute in a decade (Marathon: 9.18).
If you extrapolated that, the women would soon run faster than the men.
Extrapolation: is a mostly unsuitable means.
Sports/Women: Advantages: Fat distribution, buoyancy: Crossing the English Channel and swimming distance to Catalina Island: here the women already hold the world record today.
Many women would beat most (untrained) men in all disciplines anyway.
III 167
Progress/Evolution/Darwin/Gould: Darwin initially rejected the term evolution because it is linked to progress. The term does not appear in the first edition of the "Origin of Species".
III 175
Progress/Nature/Gould: Struggle: a)"biotic": between living beings and for food: can produce progress. Faster running, better thinking, stronger physical condition, etc.
b)"abiotic": E. g. fight of a plant at the edge of the desert. Cannot bring any progress: environment does not change over a long period of time.
Progress: The argument of the predominance of biotic competition is not enough, something must be added. If the environment is relatively empty, the inferior variants can continue to exist next to it.
III 177
Progress/Darwin/Gould: Question: why did Darwin smuggle progress back in through the back door by writing about the supremacy of biotic competition in a constantly overcrowded world? (KropotkinVsDarwin).
After the demise of the Permian period, 95% of marine invertebrates had disappeared. Nothing was crowded.
Darwin: was only able to pull himself out of the affair by considering the fossils to be artifacts (gaps in the finds).
III 179
Progress/Gould: how can one define "higher" if evolution produces a parasite with every alleged progress?

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gould I
Stephen Jay Gould
The Panda’s Thumb. More Reflections in Natural History, New York 1980
German Edition:
Der Daumen des Panda Frankfurt 2009

Gould II
Stephen Jay Gould
Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes. Further Reflections in Natural History, New York 1983
German Edition:
Wie das Zebra zu seinen Streifen kommt Frankfurt 1991

Gould III
Stephen Jay Gould
Full House. The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin, New York 1996
German Edition:
Illusion Fortschritt Frankfurt 2004

Gould IV
Stephen Jay Gould
The Flamingo’s Smile. Reflections in Natural History, New York 1985
German Edition:
Das Lächeln des Flamingos Basel 1989

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-02-25
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