Conference on Progress

SPP Journal Cover 34:2




Social Philosophy and Policy Conference on Progress

Journal Published Date: 

Winter 2017

The topic, “Progress and Liberty,” has invited a wide variety of contributions, due in part to the many types of progress that concern our interdisciplinary journal. The questions we aim to address concern three main topics:

First, we are concerned with economic progress: In what does progress consist? When has there been progress in human history? What drove progress then and there? What is the wealth of a nation, its nature, and its source? When it comes to progress in terms of economic growth, does progressivism foster progress? Can progress be measured, and when is that appropropriate in economic or other terms? What other measures do we have? Does economic progress foster other kinds of progress, and under what conditions?

Second, progress in philosophy is at issue: Has there been progress in philosophy? What would our theories of distributive justice look like if we did not take economic progress for granted? Are some ways of dividing the economic pie more conducive to economic progress than others? What if we started with the thought that society ideally is a cooperative venture for mutual advantage, but that neither cooperation nor its good consequences are a given; they cannot be taken for granted?

Other types of progress are important as well: What other kinds of progress are there: scientific, intellectual, cultural, moral? Is there such a thing as objective progress? If people in general feel that they have made progress, would that count as progress (or as evidence that there has been progress)? What conditions render people willing and able to that which fosters what other people count as progress?

Our distinguished list of participants include:

  • Kate Abramson, Associate Professor of Philosphy, Indiana University at Bloomington
  • Jonathan Anomaly, Research Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Elizabeth Brake, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Arizona State University
  • Allen Buchanan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy, Duke University
  • Shelley Burtt, Executive Director, Camphill Foundation
  • Agnes Callard, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Chicago
  • Tyler Cowen, Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics, George Mason University
  • Robert Herzberg, Assitant Director of Individual Freedom and Free Markets, John Templeton Foundation
  • Darrel Moellendorf, Cluster Chair in International Political Theory, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Pete Boettke, Professor of Economics and Philosophy, George Mason University
  • Orlando SamõesDirector of Political Studies, Universidade Católica Portuguesa
  • Adam Tebble, Lecturer in Political Theory, King's College, London
  • Daniel Green Director of Individual  Freedom and Free Markets, John Templeton Foundation