Progress and Pessimism

Looks at the lives and careers of four prominent historians, and discusses the political implications for progress

Author: Jeffrey Paul Von Arx

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674713753

Category: History

Page: 233

View: 460


Looks at the lives and careers of four prominent historians, and discusses the political implications for progress


Second, and more importantly from our perspective, this change in time-consciousness did not only authorize the idea of progress. Pessimism too is one of its progeny, the hidden twin (or perhaps the doppelgänger) of progress in modern ...

Author: Joshua Foa Dienstag

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400827480

Category: Philosophy

Page: 320

View: 336


Pessimism claims an impressive following--from Rousseau, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, to Freud, Camus, and Foucault. Yet "pessimist" remains a term of abuse--an accusation of a bad attitude--or the diagnosis of an unhappy psychological state. Pessimism is thought of as an exclusively negative stance that inevitably leads to resignation or despair. Even when pessimism looks like utter truth, we are told that it makes the worst of a bad situation. Bad for the individual, worse for the species--who would actually counsel pessimism? Joshua Foa Dienstag does. In Pessimism, he challenges the received wisdom about pessimism, arguing that there is an unrecognized yet coherent and vibrant pessimistic philosophical tradition. More than that, he argues that pessimistic thought may provide a critically needed alternative to the increasingly untenable progressivist ideas that have dominated thinking about politics throughout the modern period. Laying out powerful grounds for pessimism's claim that progress is not an enduring feature of human history, Dienstag argues that political theory must begin from this predicament. He persuasively shows that pessimism has been--and can again be--an energizing and even liberating philosophy, an ethic of radical possibility and not just a criticism of faith. The goal--of both the pessimistic spirit and of this fascinating account of pessimism--is not to depress us, but to edify us about our condition and to fortify us for life in a disordered and disenchanted universe.

Sociology Faces Pessimism

CHAPTER I THE IDEA OF PROGRESS The purpose of this book is to discuss modern pessimism as it affects sociology. It may appear strange, therefore, that we begin with a chapter on the idea of progress. Pessimism, as a frame of mind, ...

Author: Robert Benjamin Bailey

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9789401508599

Category: Social Science

Page: 173

View: 997


My initial interest in sociology stemmed from the desire to see specific social change in certain areas of my native United States of America. My rather naive assumption at that time was that if the truth is known about social phenomena and presented to rational and educated persons, public opinion will bring about the desirable social change. That is, I assumed some automatic linkage between truth, rationality and social progress. Certainly some of the so-called "pioneers" of sociology also assumed this automatic linkage. Thus, the opportunity to study in Europe, on the soil of some of these "pioneers" heightened my interest and desire to learn more about the relationship between sociology and social progress. After living and studying several years in various parts of Western Europe - England, Germany, France, Holland - one finds that European sociology has remained very closely associ ated with social philosophy and history, has often been resisted by the universities, and is not as empirical as American sociology. The European sociologist, still quite conscious of the mistakes of the early fathers - Comte, Spencer, Marx, among others - is extremely cautious concerning problems of social progress and social action. He is aware that his science is still young and sus pect. He is also less sure than his predecessors about the exact role of sociology.


... its dark and repellent aspects , TATURAL , optimism and pessimism , 144 , 145 Laughter , impulses of , a source of hap 383 , 384 ; how far an invariable conpiness , 210 ; an element of the opti dition of progress , 385-393 INDEX .

Author: James Sully


ISBN: HARVARD:32044010327872

Category: Pessimism

Page: 477

View: 356


Pessimism in International Relations

These three core elements, we argue, provide a framework for Alt-Right mnemonics (functional memory) of time, progress and, ultimately, politics. Pessimism has long been a central feature within diverse political and international ...

Author: Tim Stevens

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 9783030217808

Category: Political Science

Page: 215

View: 853


This volume explores the past, present and future of pessimism in International Relations. It seeks to differentiate pessimism from cynicism and fatalism and assess its possibilities as a respectable perspective on national and international politics. The book traces the origins of pessimism in political thought from antiquity through to the present day, illuminating its role in key schools of International Relations and in the work of important international political theorists. The authors analyse the resurgence of pessimism in contemporary politics, such as in the new populism, attitudes to migration, indigenous politics, and the Anthropocene. This edited volume provides the first collection of scholarly work on pessimism in International Relations theory and practice and offers fresh perspectives on an intellectual position often considered as disreputable as it is venerable.

Pessimism Bailey

more position of natural science and its potential for progress through increasing control of the natural world was ... At its most pessimistic it rejects knowledge as such in all its forms as the basis for progress and thereby any ...

Author: Joe Bailey

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 9781136085482

Category: Social Science

Page: 200

View: 808


First Published in 1988. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Technology Pessimism and Postmodernism

Looking at the lightning debate, however, we found it difficult to ascribe a single coherent notion of progress to the ... or scientific idea elicited optimistic reactions from some individuals and deeply pessimistic ones from others.

Author: Yaron Ezrahi

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9789401108768

Category: History

Page: 218

View: 793


HOWARD P. SEGAL, FOR THE EDITORS In November 1979 the Humanities Department of the University of Michi gan's College of Engineering sponsored a symposium on ''Technology and Pessimism. " The symposium included scholars from a variety of fields and carefully balanced critics and defenders of modern technology, broadly defined. Although by this point it was hardly revolutionary to suggest that technology was no longer automatically equated with optimism and in turn with unceasing social advance, the idea of linking technology so explicitly with pessimism was bound to attract attention. Among others, John Noble Wilford, a New York Times science and technology correspondent, not only covered the symposium but also wrote about it at length in the Times the following week. As Wilford observed, "Whatever their disagreements, the participants agreed that a mood of pessimism is overtaking and may have already displaced the old optimistic view of history as a steady and cumulative expansion of human power, the idea of inevitable progress born in the Scientific and Industrial Rev olutions and dominant in the 19th century and for at least the first half of this century. " Such pessimism, he continued, "is fed by growing doubts about soci ety's ability to rein in the seemingly runaway forces of technology, though the participants conceded that in many instances technology was more the symbol than the substance of the problem.

The Non religion of the Future A Sociological Study

Pessimistic pantheism—Pessimistic interpretation of religions in Germany— 1. Causes of the progress of pessimism in the present epoch—Progress of pantheistic metaphysics and of positive science—Penalties incident to thought and ...

Author: Jean-Marie Guyau

Publisher: DigiCat

ISBN: EAN:8596547042075

Category: Religion

Page: 662

View: 589


"The Non-religion of the Future: A Sociological Study" is a sociological study on the concept of religion within society. This book surrounds various topics including the genesis of religion in primitive societies, dissolution of religions in existing societies, and non-religion of the future. A great philosophical book on religion and its various aspects.