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"The Shape of History"

Abstract: Some philosophers believe in progress: they think that the world is a better place than it used to be and that future generations will fare even better. Others believe in decline: they argue that the condition of humanity has deteriorated and will continue to do so. What has been neglected, however, is a purely normative question: is it better if the history of humanity features a pattern of improvement rather than deterioration, holding other things equal? In this talk, I will offer an answer to this question and explore its implications for matters related to the future of humanity.

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