There is another dimension to the cult of perfectibility
, and that is centered in the nature of the experience and its environment.
I then explore how this idea complicates Godwin's definitions of institution and his attempt to refound anarchism on the "rational" basis of perfectibility
. For Godwin, institution is what posits itself as something foundational, rather than the reified product of contingent circumstance.
But human perfectibility
constitutes a visible difference or external manifestation pointing to the presence of liberty in man, and its correlative absence in the animal-machine.
One of Stael's principal strategies to mobilize her cultural capital targets marketing her belief in human perfectibility
. A short article published in 1816, a year before her death, summarizes especially clearly a key method that Stael employed throughout her writing career: De l'esprit des traductions.
The foregoing analysis implies that Western-based developmental psychology should expand to include spirit- or Ka-driven development toward perfectibility
as the ultimate in human development.
What's missing, however, is the sense of how liberalism transformed itself over time from believing in the possibilities of human perfectibility
, to believing in government as an inexhaustible source of patronage and entitlements.
For both thinkers, morality--understood, again, as self-determination and perfectibility
according to the ideals of reason--was the foundation of everything.
Today's children are keenly aware of the social quest for bodily perfectibility
and are familiar with dieting.
Harold Coward, The Perfectibility
of Human Nature in Eastern and Western Thought.
Its faith is in the perfectibility
of man, in the authority of experts, and in the need for an all-powerful state to coordinate society at the national level.
Some cling to faith in good intentions and the perfectibility
of mankind, don't want to hurt offenders' feelings, don't want a reputation as "pro-state," or just don't want to work after lunch.
Nonetheless, Sala-Molins argues, as a result of the Enlightenment concept of "perfectibility
," the philosophes believed that Africans and enslaved Afro-Caribbeans, through a slow process of cultural (and perhaps phenotypical) "whitening," could achieve a state appropriate to the assumption of the philosophes' universal rights--hence the focus of abolitionists such as Condorcet on gradual emancipation schemes.