University of Michigan Press
Progress, perhaps the fundamental secular belief of modern Western society, has come under heavy fire recently because, after three centuries, the advances in science and technology seem increasingly to bring problems in their wake: alienation, environmental degradation, the threat of nuclear destruction. The idea of progress is also brought into question by postmodern critique, attacking the notion of science is truth. Yet no other meaningful organization of humankind’s sense of time looms on the horizon. Progress: Fact or Illusion? attempts to reassess the meaning and prospects of the idea of progress.
Looking toward the millennium, the volume seeks to evaluate the idea’s worth both in theory – is an intellectually viable and defensible today? – and practice – even if theoretically defensible, is the idea undermined in actual life? Approaching these questions from the perspectives of science, anthropology, economics, religion, political philosophy, feminism, medicine, environmental studies, and the Third World, the contributors, all distinguished scholars, provide a unique and critical balance.
Contributors include: Jill Ker Conway, Leon Eisenberg, Robert Heilbroner, Gerald Holton, Leo Marx Bruce Mazlish, , Ali A. Mazrui, Alan Ryan, John M. Staudenmaier, George W. Stocking, Jr., Richard White, and Zhiyuan Cui.
Leo Marx is Kenan Professor of American Cultural History Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America and Does Technology Drive History? The Dilemma of Technological Determinism, edited with Merritt Roe Smith.
Bruce Mazlish is Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of The Fourth Discontinuity: The Co-Evolution of Humans and Machines and A New Science: The Breakdown of Connections and the Birth of Sociology.