The theory of social progress is an integral partgeneral sociology. At the same time, its value is relatively independent. She tries to find out what direction processes have in society, the trend of its development, and also reveals on this basis the general logic of the whole historical process.
Before considering the problems of publicprogress, we will clarify the content of the following concepts: "progress", "development", "regression". Development is the broadest category, which denotes the process of qualitative changes taking place in certain directions. Such directions can be both a descending and an ascending line. Consequently, the concept of progress is only one of the aspects of development, the ascending line from the simple to the complex, from the lower to the higher. Regress, on the contrary, is a decline, stagnation, degradation. This movement is from the highest to the lowest, that is, on a descending line.
Both his supporters and opponents havetheory of social progress. B. Shaw, an English writer, noted in this connection that it is noble to search for the logic of the historical process, but not grateful. In his opinion, a wise person seeks, first of all, to adapt to this world, and a foolish person - to adapt it to himself. Therefore, according to Bernard Shaw, progress depends largely on fools.
In the history of philosophical thought this problem wassubject of constant interest. In antiquity, for example, Seneca and Hesiod argued that in history there is no progress as such. On the contrary, it is moving in the direction from the Golden Age, that is, there is a regression. The problem of social progress at the same time was considered by Aristotle and Plato. They were inclined in this matter to the ideas of the cycle in public life.
Also interesting is the Christian interpretation, whichhas the problem of social progress. In it, it is seen as a movement forward, upward, but as if over existence, history. So believed, for example, Aurelius Augustine.
Progress from the earthly basis in this case breaks away, and his understanding is associated mainly with the person: the person's personal responsibility to God, retribution, contact with the divine.
The Renaissance era posed this problem asthe problem of individual freedom and ways to achieve it. In modern times, another vision of social progress was formulated, which expresses a well-known statement: "Knowledge is power." However, at the same time as in the period of the French Enlightenment, the problem of the inconsistency of the forward movement appears. In particular, Rousseau points to a contradiction between moral progress and the progress of knowledge.
If we consider the German classicalphilosophy, you can see that development in it is treated as a forward movement, and the history of mankind is a process of development of the World Spirit, the Absolute Idea. This position was held by Hegel.
G. Antoine Condorcet, the French thinker, is one of the most brilliant theorists of the second half of the 19th century. What is the problem of social progress from his point of view? Let's figure it out. Condorcet was convinced that the movement forward depends on the success of the mind, which manifests itself in the spread of education and the growth of science. In the very "nature" of man, in the opinion of this thinker, the ability of self-improvement is laid, and this causes social progress, which will proceed endlessly. Although he limits this "infinity" to the framework of private property, believing that it is with its establishment that the movement of society begins, which is possible only under conditions of this natural basis.
We see that the overwhelming majority of those namedabove the researchers who studied the problems of social progress, believed that the root cause of the advance is the mind, "its unlimited possibilities." However, in the second half of the 19th century, in the understanding of this issue, the accents shifted, up to the replacement of the notion of "progress" with "social changes" or "circulation" of history. Researchers such as P. Sorokin and O. Spengler ("The Decline of Europe") argued that the movement of society occurs on a descending line, and in the end, civilization will inevitably perish.
The problem of social progress and its criteriawas also interested in representatives of utopian socialism (for example, Karl Marx, whose portrait is presented above). They were convinced that the advance is the law of the development of society, and it leads inevitably to the triumph of socialism in the future. They saw the driving force of progress in the successes of enlightenment, the human mind, in the moral perfection of people. The Marxist ideology is formed in the middle of the 19th century. Its basis is a historical, dialectical-materialistic approach to society, its present, past and future. History appears in this case as the activity of a person who pursues his goals.
We will not continue to list the authors,who studied problems of social progress, and their concepts. From the above, it can be concluded that none of them can be considered an absolute truth, although some part of it is in each of them. Probably, the researchers will return to such an issue for a long time as the problem of social progress. Philosophy has accumulated many concepts, but all of them are somewhat one-sided.
Contradictions of the social process are accumulated at the present stage in the global problems of mankind. These include the following:
- caused by the ecological crisis;
- the problem of peace and the prevention of war;
- demographic (depopulationist and population-based);
- Problems of spirituality (culture, health, education) and lack of spirituality (loss of internal reference points - universal values);
- overcoming human dissociation, which is caused by various political, economic and spiritual development of peoples and countries.
All these modern problems of the publicprogress affects the interests of mankind as a whole and its future, and therefore were called global. The unresolved nature of these and other issues poses a threat to the continued existence of society as a whole. In addition, for their solution, they require the pooling of efforts not only of individual countries and regions, but of all mankind.
Each of us is concerned with the problem of publicprogress. Social science, in general, is a very useful science, because we all live in a society. Therefore, everyone must understand the basic laws of its functioning. At school, the problem of social progress is often superficially considered, briefly tells about global problems. Perhaps, these topics should be given more attention, and then future generations will direct their forces to their solution.