University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, April 29th 2016
Speaker: Philip Kitcher, Department of Philosophy, Columbia University
Subject: Progress in the Sciences -- and also in the Arts
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

The view that the sciences make progress, while the arts do not, is extremely common. This lecture will challenge it. I begin by distinguishing teleological progress from pragmatic progress. You make pragmatic progress not by coming closer to a goal, but by solving some of the problems of your current state. Scientific progress should be seen as pragmatic. When the point is recognized, it becomes evident that scientific progress has social dimensions. A socially embedded notion of scientific progress then allows for a parallel concept of progress applicable to the arts.

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