Alexander L. Nikiforov
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
On the meaning and significance of the concept of “progress”
Abstract. The article provides a semantic analysis of the general concept of “progress”. The author shows that the objective meaning of this concept is a series of successive changes of a certain object. Still, the meaning of the con-cept of “progress” also includes an assess-ment of these changes from the observer’s viewpoint, who can assess these changes as a transition from lower to higher, from less perfect to more perfect, that is as progressive changes, or on the contrary – as a transition from perfect to less perfect, that is as regres-sive changes. It seems clear that these esti-mates depend on the observers’ value sys-tem, that is from their ideas about the high, the perfect, and the useful. Different people have different value systems, which is why so often people disagree in their assessments of some changes as progressive or regressive. The article discusses the question of whether a certain system of universal values exists, which assumes that a generally valid assess-ment of some changes as progressive is possible. Modern sociological research demonstrates the absence of such system. The author, in his turn, suggests a hypothesis about what could serve as the basis for the formation of such a universal human value system.
Keywords: progress, regression, assessment, subject, change, good, meaning, meaning
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