ECU Libraries Catalog

A road to nowhere : the idea of progress and its critics / Matthew W. Slaboch.

Author/creator Slaboch, Matthew W. author.
Format Book and Print
Publication Info Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, [2018]
Description194 pages ; 24 cm
Contents Introduction -- "The same, but otherwise": Arthur Schopenhauer as a critic of "progress" -- The autocrat and the anarchist: Nicholas I, Leo Tolstoy, and the problem of "progress" -- "The path to hell": Henry (and Brooks) Adams on history and politics -- Critics of the idea of progress in an age of extremes: three twentith-century voices -- Conclusion.
Summary Since the Enlightenment, the idea of progress has spanned right- and left-wing politics, secular and spiritual philosophy, and most every school of art or culture. The belief that humans are capable of making lasting improvements-intellectual, scientific, material, moral, and cultural-continues to be a commonplace of our age. However, events of the preceding century, including but not limited to two world wars, conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, the spread of communism across Eastern Europe and parts of Asia, violent nationalism in the Balkans, and genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda, have called into question this faith in the continued advancement of humankind. Matthew W. Slaboch argues that political theorists should entertain the possibility that long-term, continued progress may be more fiction than reality. He examines the work of German philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer and Oswald Spengler, Russian novelists Leo Tolstoy and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and American historians Henry Adams and Christopher Lasch-rare skeptics of the idea of progress who have much to engage political theory, a field dominated by historical optimists. Looking at the figures of Schopenhauer, Tolstoy, and Adams, Slaboch considers the ways in which they defined progress and their reasons for doubting that their cultures, or the world, were progressing. He compares Germany, Russia, and the United States to illustrate how these nineteenth-century critics of the idea of progress contributed to or helped forestall the emergence of forms of government that came to be associated with each country.
Bibliography noteIncludes bibliographical references and index.
LCCN 2017026852
ISBN9780812249804 hardcover ; alkaline paper
ISBN0812249801 hardcover ; alkaline paper

Available Items

Library Location Call Number Status Item Actions
Joyner General Stacks JC201 .S53 2018 ✔ Available Place Hold

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