Fontenelle’s Theory Of Progress


The first Western thinker to come up with a comprehensive theory of “progress” was Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle (1657-1757).  His importance today rests on the fact that he was a promoter and popularizer of the ideas of Rene Descartes in the face of the sustained attacks that Cartesian ideas came under from established religious and academic circles.  Descartes was one of the true visionaries of the Western tradition, and is rightly considered to be one of the fathers of modern philosophy and science.

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