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Meliorism

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. Meliorism, as a conception of the person and society, is at the foundation of contemporary liberal democracy and human rights and is a basic component of liberalism. Another important understanding of the meliorist tradition comes from the American Pragmatic tradition. One can read about ...

Reversal test

The reversal test was introduced in the context of the bioethics of human enhancement by Nick Bostrom and Toby Ord. Given that humans might suffer from irrational status quo bias, how can one distinguish between valid criticisms of proposed increase in some human trait and criticisms merely motivated by resistance to change? The reversal test attempts to do this by asking whether it would be a good thing if the trait was decreased: An example given is that if someone objects that an increase in intelligence would be a bad thing due to more dangerous weapons being made etc., the objector to ...

Sic transit gloria mundi

The phrase was used in the ritual of papal coronation ceremonies between 1409 when it was used at the coronation of Alexander V and 1963. As the newly-chosen pope proceeded from the sacristy of St. Peters Basilica in his sedia gestatoria, the procession stopped three times. On each occasion, a papal master of ceremonies would fall to his knees before the pope, holding a silver or brass reed, bearing a tow of smoldering flax. For three times in succession, as the cloth burned away, he would say in a loud and mournful voice, "Pater Sancte, sic transit gloria mundi!" "Holy Father, so passes w ...

Social conflict theory

Social conflict theory is a Marxist-based social theory which argues that individuals and groups within society interact on the basis of conflict rather than consensus. Through various forms of conflict, groups will tend to attain differing amounts of material and non-material resources. More powerful groups will tend to use their power in order to retain power and exploit groups with less power. Conflict theorists view conflict as an engine of change, since conflict produces contradictions which are sometimes resolved, creating new conflicts and contradictions in an ongoing dialectic. In ...

Social gadfly

A gadfly is a person who interferes with the status quo of a society or community by posing novel, potentially upsetting questions, usually directed at authorities. The term is originally associated with the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, in his defense when on trial for his life.

Status quo

Status quo is a Latin phrase meaning the existing state of affairs, particularly with regard to social or political issues. In the sociological sense, it generally applies to maintain or change existing social structure and values. With regard to policy debate, the status quo refers to how conditions are at the time and how the affirmative team can solve these conditions for example "The countries are now trying to maintain a status quo with regards to their nuclear arsenal which will help them if the situation gets any worse." It is the nominative form of the prepositional Latin phrase in ...

Status quo bias

Status quo bias is an emotional bias; a preference for the current state of affairs. The current baseline is taken as a reference point, and any change from that baseline is perceived as a loss. Status quo bias should be distinguished from a rational preference for the status quo ante, as when the current state of affairs is objectively superior to the available alternatives, or when imperfect information is a significant problem. A large body of evidence, however, shows that status quo bias frequently affects human decision-making. Status quo bias should also be distinguished from psychol ...

Structural fix

A structural fix refers to solving a problem or resolving a conflict by bringing about structural changes that change the underlying structures that provoked or sustain these problems. According to Heberlein such changes modify human behavior by regulating the social settings or the structures in which the behavior occurs − their context. Such fixes are typically long-term opposed to temporary and require open and in-depth inquiry for the root structural causes of a problem and understanding of a system. Effectively changing norms would be an example of a structural fix. Often structural f ...

Transformation in economics

Transformation in economics refers to a long-term change in dominant economic activity in terms of prevailing relative engagement or employment of able individuals. Human economic systems undergo a number of deviations and departures from the "normal" state, trend or development. Among them are Disturbance short-term disruption, temporary disorder, Perturbation, Deformation, Transformation and Renewal. Transformation is a unidirectional and irreversible change in dominant human economic activity economic sector. Such change is driven by slower or faster continuous improvement in sector pro ...

Transformative learning

Transformative learning, as a theory, says that the process of "perspective transformation" has three dimensions: psychological, convictional, and behavioral. Transformative learning is the expansion of consciousness through the transformation of basic worldview and specific capacities of the self; transformative learning is facilitated through consciously directed processes such as appreciatively accessing and receiving the symbolic contents of the unconscious and critically analyzing underlying premises. Perspective transformation, leading to transformative learning, occurs infrequently. ...

Rate of change (mathematics)

In mathematics, a rate is the ratio between two related quantities in different units. If the denominator of the ratio is expressed as a single unit of one of these quantities, and if it is assumed that this quantity can be changed systematically, then the numerator of the ratio expresses the corresponding rate of change in the other variable. The most common type of rate is "per unit of time", such as speed, heart rate and flux. Ratios that have a non-time denominator include exchange rates, literacy rates and electric field in volts/meter. In describing the units of a rate, the word "per ...