Historicism

From Academic Kids

Historicism has developed different and divergent, though loosely related, meanings. Elements of some appear in the extensive writings of G.W.F. Hegel, one of the most influential philosophers of 19th-century Europe, as well as in those of a philosopher he deeply influenced, Karl Marx.

Contents

Variants of historicism

Hegelian historicism

The historicist position proposed by Hegel suggests that no objective way exists to determine which of various competing theories on a subject is correct. According to this view, in science, philosophy, or any other discipline, there are only the facts about who has believed what, and when they believed it. Hegel's famous aphorism, "Philosophy is the history of philosophy." describes it bluntly. See also Nihilism.

Popperian historicism

Karl Popper used the term historicism in his influential books The Poverty of Historicism and The Open Society and Its Enemies, to mean: "an approach to the social sciences which assumes that historical prediction is their primary aim, and which assumes that this aim is attainable by discovering the 'rhythms' or the 'patterns', the 'laws' or the 'trends' that underlie the evolution of history" (p. 3 of The Poverty of Historicism, italics in original). Karl Popper wrote with reference to Hegel's theory of history, which he criticized extensively.

New historicism

Since the 1990s, some post-modernist thinkers have used historicism to describe the view that there is no absolute truth about deep philosophical questions that should stand for all time. Instead, their historicism holds that there is only the history of philosophy or more generally, intellectual history, including the history of science and technology. This school of thought sometimes goes by the name of New Historicism.

The same label, new historicism is also employed for a school of literary scholarship which interprets a poem, drama, etc. as an expression of the power-structures of the surrounding society. Stephen Greenblatt is an outstanding practitioner of this school.

Biblical historicism

In Christian circles, the term historicism refers to the confessional Protestant form of prophetical interpretation which holds that the fulfilment of biblical prophecy has taken place throughout history and continues to take place today; as opposed to other methods which limit the time-frame of prophecy-fulfillment to the past or to the future.

Relevant works

External links

Hegel

Popper

New Historicism

Biblical Prophecy

es:Historicismo nl:Historicisme pt:Historicismo

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