Meliorism is an idea in metaphysical thinking holding that progress is a real concept leading to an improvement of the world. It holds that humans can, through their interference with processes that would otherwise be natural, produce an outcome which is an improvement over the aforementioned natural one.
Another important understanding of the meliorist tradition comes from the American Pragmatic tradition. One can read about it in the works of Lester Frank Ward, William James, Ralph Nader, and John Dewey.
Meliorism has also been used by Arthur Caplan to describe positions in bioethics that are in favor of ameliorating conditions which cause suffering, even if the conditions have long existed (e.g. being in favor of cures for common diseases, being in favor of serious anti-aging therapies as they are developed).
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Meliorism.|
- Graebner, Norman, "The Limits of Meliorism in Foreign Affairs", Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter 2000
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