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My thinking about this topic is vague, and I'm looking to clarify it.

I'm not sure what "intellectual progress" is or if that's even a useful abstraction, but it seems like it should include things like...

  • New inventions
  • Formalizations of new mathematics (the invention/discovery of probability theory, for instance)
  • Scientific breakthroughs
  • The founding of new intellectual domains (originating economics, for instance)
  • Improvements in methodological standards (the spread of the scientific method being the obvious example)

I'm looking to do a deep dive into rates of intellectual progress over time.

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  • $\begingroup$ I find this an interesting question. There is an analogous measure for technological-industrial progress, namely, how much energy a civilisation uses: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere#Origin_of_concept With this, I want to say that this question is justified (not unreasonable). There is also the concept of technological singularity, when the rate of progress is infinity. Estimating rate of progress throughout cultures and stages of history as opposed to measuring the state of progress seems to be a good amount harder! $\endgroup$ – Bence Mélykúti Jul 29 '18 at 10:14
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think "intel. prog." has any useful meaning. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jul 30 '18 at 12:32

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