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Philosophy and the Historical Perspective$
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Marcel van Ackeren

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266298

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266298.001.0001

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Progress and Historical Reflection in Philosophy

Progress and Historical Reflection in Philosophy

(p.51) 4 Progress and Historical Reflection in Philosophy
Philosophy and the Historical Perspective

Thomas Grundmann

, Marcel van Ackeren, Lee Klein
British Academy

What is the epistemic significance of reflecting on a discipline’s past for making progress in that discipline? The author assumes that the answer to this question negatively correlates with that discipline’s degree of progress over time. If and only if a science is progressive, then what people have thought and argued in the past in that discipline ceases to be up to date. This chapter distinguishes different dimensions of disciplinary progress and subsequently argue that veritic progress, that is, collective convergence to truth, is the most important dimension for disciplines with scientific ambitions. It then argues that, on the one hand, veritic progress in philosophy is more significant than many current philosophers believe, but that, on the other hand, it also has severe limitations. The author offers an explanation of these limitations that suggests that the history of philosophy should play some role, though only a minor one, in systematic philosophy.

Keywords:   disciplinary progress, veritic progress, collective convergence, history of philosophy

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