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Chapter 13. The philosophy of history


13.1. Historicism and anti-historicism


The philosophy of history is a chapter of philosophy regarding the world history as its subject matter. Its main trends are historicism and anti-historicism. Historicism is the approach exceeding from the point that all historic events and phenomena are conditioned with some objective, more or less deterministic laws (similar to those of nature). This definition may be called the strong definition. There exists also another, the weak one, according to which, historicism is simply an approach regarding all events and phenomena in their historic becoming and development and in their mutual correlation with the engendering them conditions. The second definition is wider and, generally speaking, if we exceed from it, all purely historical and philosophical conceptions dealing with history are historicity in this sense. The first definition of historicism is more concrete; in order to come to the opposite of historicism, the anti-historicism, we need to exceed from it. Anti-historicism is an opposite to historicism, i.e. the approach negating existence of objective deterministic (similar to those of nature) laws in history. In short, the opposition of historicism and anti-historicism goes via the attitude to the problem of objective history laws existence.

The most famous XX century philosopher anti-historicist may be called K. Popper. He negated the objective history laws (similar to those of nature) existence and asserted that the only logic of situations works in the case of historic events and phenomena. The latter means that, of cause, a lot of regularities may be pointed in the history process, but they are not deterministic laws at all; for in the case of history a human is both subject and object of the history process simultaneously and, therefore, itís on it always what to do and what consequences will be. A human has always freedom of choice in some measure that makes determinism in history impossible. Theories supporting the deterministic history laws existence are only means of totalitarianism justification. Leaders of any totalitarian states always justify their power with references to some or other objective laws of history. For example, Soviet leaders basing on the Marxist theory stated that the communist society will be inevitable result of all the world history process and, therefore, to stand against communism means to be against progress and nature. According to Popper, the outset to all historicist ideas was put by Plato in his ideal state theory. The most of all other anti-historicists were simply enchanted by Plato and in result believed in objective history laws similar to laws of physics. But no laws exist in history, only the logic of situations.

As far as the history as the most general concept of the historical science and the philosophy of history are concerned, we ought to remark that the history isnít a simple succession of events but obligatorily a process supposing a direction and a development. In short, history is understood as a purposeful process. The appearing of this idea of history in the European tradition is connected with Christianity. In compliance with the Christian doctrine, the final point of the world history is the second advent of Christ. The ancient Greeks or Indians had no similar ideas. The history in their opinion moved by circle and had no purpose. The Christians waiting the second advent of Christ pondered otherwise. Centuries passed by, Christ wasnít coming, the expectations of him were soon forgotten but the idea of the history as a purposeful process has remained. The expectations of Christ were replaced with the aspiration and faith in a progress that was thought differently, depending on those who shared these faith and aspiration. Some thinkers looked for social, others for economic, cultural or other sorts of progress. The essence was the same: the history isnít a simple succession of events but a purposeful process, the aim of which is a progress in some or other form. Whence later the ideas of history laws appear. Thus we come to, that the world history is subdued to some or other regularities (not obligatory deterministic ones).

In compliance with the character of main factors determining the regularities of history, the theories of history may be divided into the follow:

n civilizational;

n formational;

n informational;

n psychological

Itís possible to notice that these groups coincide with the four groups of the truthís conceptions (look the chapter dedicated to epistemology).


Date: 2014-12-21; view: 607

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