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Abstract

According to some recent critics, philosophy has not progressed over the course of its history because it has not exhibited any substantial increase in the stock of human wisdom. I reject this pessimistic conclusion by arguing that such criticisms employ a conception of progress drawn from the sciences which is inapplicable to a humanistic discipline such as philosophy. Philosophy should not be understood as the accumulation of epistemic goods in a manner analogous to the natural sciences. I argue that the progressiveness of philosophy consists, if anything, in its capacity to provoke and sustain critical reflections upon the ideas and practices which shape and guide human life.