Philip Kitcher Lecture: Progress in the Sciences and in the Arts

Progress in the Sciences and in the Arts lecture by Philip Kitcher on April 6, 2016.

This lecture challenged the common view that the sciences make progress while the arts do not. Distinguishing teleological progress (coming closer to a goal) from pragmatic progress (solving some of the problems of your current state), Kitcher argues that scientific progress should be seen as pragmatic. From this view, it becomes evident that scientific progress has social dimensions. In turn, by accepting a socially embedded notion of scientific progress, Kitcher allows for a parallel concept of progress applicable to the arts.

Philip Kitcher, John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, is interested in the ethical and political constraints on scientific research, the evolution of altruism and morality, and the seeming conflict between science and religion. Kitcher’s recent books include Life after Faith: The Case for Secular Humanism, Preludes to Pragmatism, and The Ethical Project. Kitcher has been an American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow, and was awarded the APA Prometheus Prize for lifetime achievement in “expanding the frontiers of science and philosophy.”

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