Some superficial notes on the chapter: How is Human Progress Possible

Human progress, either on morality or sciences, as claimed by John Lambie, is historically mistaken to be inevitable. However, the main point he is holding is that human progress should not be explained as inevitable at all, but that history can get manifestly better or worse, and human progress is achieved for a reason or as a outcome. Following that, he credits critical open-mindedness for human progress.

John’s proof of history can get manifestly better or worse is mainly based upon summarization of historical facts. An example, as he pointed out, of history is not always making progress is that Christopher Columbus’s measure of the circumferences of Earth was “vastly inferior” to the incredibly accurate measurements of the Greek astronomer Eratosthenes 1700 years earlier. While over the same time, human history definitely sees significant progres in scientific knowledge.

In parallel to science progress, moral progress is defined by John Lambie as “the increasingly humane and fair treatment of other human beings”. Abolition of slavery, outlawing of torture, and “provision of welfare to the sick and needy” and the “acknowledgement that genocide is wrong” are all clear examples of moral progress throughout human history.



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