Today, many believe that progress is a word to be avoided, a relic from a past, the dangerous product of an era of intellectual naivety that would be best forgotten. Yet, the idea of progress is rooted in a human impulse that is both profound and essential, a way of interpreting history without which our ability to plan the future, our very identity would be at stake.
Written just before the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic–which is now putting its argument to the hardest of tests–this lucid essay explores how science and technology have been, and can still be, a powerful engine for human and humane advancement.
Aldo Schiavone is one of Italy’s most renowned historians, whose works have been translated into numerous languages. He has taught Roman Law at the University of Florence and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His previous books include Spartacus (2013) and Pontius Pilate (2017).
Ann Goldstein has translated into English all of Elena Ferrante’s books, including the New York Times bestseller, The Story of the Lost Child, which was shortlisted for the MAN Booker International Prize. She has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship and is the recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award. She lives in New York.