The perfectibility of man
A reviewer of the original edition in 1970 of "The Perfectibility of Man" well summarizes the scope and significance of this renowned work by one of the leading philosophers of the twentieth century: "Beginning with an analytic discussion of the various ways in which perfectibility has been interpreted, Professor Passmore traces its long history from the Greeks to the present day, by way of Christianity, orthodox and heterodox, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, anarchism, utopias, communism, psychoanalysis, and evolutionary theories of man and society. Both in its broad sweep and in countless supporting reflections, it is a journey through spiritual scenery of the most majestic and exhilarating kind." Thoroughly and elegantly, Passmore explores the history of the idea of perfectibility--manifest in the ideology of perfectibilism--and its consequences, which have invariably been catastrophic for individual liberty and responsibility in private, social, economic, and political life.John Passmore served for many years as a Professor of Philosophy at Australian National University.
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Perfection and Perfectibility
From Olympus to the Form of the Good
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absolute according achieve anarchists Aquinas argued Aristotle asceticism attitude Augustine Augustinian believe Calvin Cathars century certainly Christ Christian Church classical contemplation corrupt criticism degree dehumanizing described Dionysius distinct divine divine grace doctrine doubt dystopias E. R. Dodds enjoyment Enlightenment Epicurus ethical evil evolution example fact Fichte flesh freedom Gnosticism God's godlike gods grace Greek happiness Herder human idea ideal intellectual J. S. Mill Jesus Kant Karl Barth Leibniz live London Luther man's mankind means men's metaphysical modern moral mystical nature neo-Platonic once Parmenides passions Pelagian Pelagius perfectibilism perfectibilist Philo philosophers Plato Plotinus pride progress Ralph Cudworth reason rejected relationships religion repr Roman Rousseau secular sense sexual social society soul spirit Stoicism Stoics suggested task teachings technical perfection Teilhard theologians theology things thought tion trans virtue wholly writes wrote Xenophanes