The Problem of Progress: Life, Humanity, Civilisation
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 from 17:30 to 19:00 (GMT)
Investigation of civilisation as a concept and as a social phenomenon is still caught up in the problem of progress. Can we escape the damaging legacy of earlier centuries that set the primitive against the civilised and one civilisation above another in a hierarchy of moral, cultural, religious or racial superiority? Investigations into the origins of life and the emergence of humanity also confront the problem of progress. Developmental metaphors have often been used to describe major evolutionary transitions such as those from molecules to chromosomes, or from sound to language. How better can we measure chemical, biological and cultural complexity?
This roundtable Provocation brings together for the first time UCL’s three Research Frontier groupings (Origins of Life, Human Evolution and Dynamics of Civilisation). It seeks to address some fundamental questions about life, humanity and civilisation, to provoke exchange across UCL, and to confront the problem of ‘progress’. After preliminary reflection from the speakers, the discussion will be opened up to the audience.
opening address: David Price (Vice-Provost for Research) speakers: Nick Lane (Dept. of Genetics, Evolution and Environment); Mike Rowlands (Dept. of Anthropology); James Steele (Institute of Archaeology) chair: Maria Wyke (Dept. of Greek & Latin)
When & Where
Centre for Research on the Dynamics of Civilisation, University College London.
This event is the first Provocaton to be organised by the new UCL Centre for Research on the Dynamics of Civilisation (CREDOC) (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/research-frontiers/civilisation), in partnership with the UCL Research Frontiers groupings Human Evolution and Origins of Life (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/research).