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Robert A. Nisbet
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History of the Idea of Progress

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  31 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
The idea of progress from the Enlightenment to postmodernism is still very much with us. In intellectual discourse, journals, popular magazines, and radio and talk shows, the debate between those who are "progressivists" and those who are "declinists" is as spirited as it was in the late seventeenth century. In History of the Idea of Progress, Robert Nisbet traces the idea ...more
Published (first published June 10th 1980)
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Franz
Aug 09, 2011 Franz rated it really liked it
Published in 1980. Unlike some authors, Nisbet traces the idea of progress all the way back to the Greeks, with major contributions made by St. Augustine and others in the ancient and medieval world. In fact he devotes almost half the book to presenting the thoughts on progress by ancient and medieval thinkers. Moreover, so far he's the only historian of the idea of progress that I've read who places at least some emphasis on the contributions of Adam Smith and the American founders.

Nisbet rema
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Virginia
Oct 13, 2007 Virginia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book is out of print now, but it's a pretty amazing overview of "progress"

It's fascinating to read about the development of an idea that we've taken as inevitable culturally.

That was a shitty sentence. Oh well. I'll edit in a bit. I have lots more to say about this book.

Ak Hauck
Sep 10, 2012 Ak Hauck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read. Nisbet attributes ideas to Augustine that rightfully ought to be given to Scripture, but does credit Augustine with being the font of Western philosophy hence forward.
Bill Easterly
Aug 25, 2008 Bill Easterly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing how idea of progress goes back to Greeks and Romans -- had the idea that progress was natural before there WAS much progress of any kind! One of the best history of idea books ever!
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American sociologist, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Vice-Chancellor at the University of California, Riverside and as the Albert Schweitzer Professor at Columbia University.
After serving in the US Army during World War II, when he was stationed on Saipan in the Pacific theatre, Nisbet founded the Department of Sociology at Berkeley, and was briefly Chairman. Nisbet left an e
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