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Dictionary of the History of Ideas

Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas

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1. Introduction. Necessity and Explanation. In try-
ing to view the development of the notions of philo-
sophical and historical necessity and of their interrela-
tions in the light of successive dominant modes of
explanation, it will be convenient to distinguish be-
tween the following periods: the beginnings of Greek
science and philosophy, the age of Plato and Aristotle,
the dominance of theology, the emergence of modern
science, the age of rationalist epistemology, the period
of empiricism and Kantianism, the age of Hegel and
Marx, the struggle between positivism and the doctrine
of historical empathy, twentieth-century views of the
historical process, and recent views on natural and
historical necessity. The periods overlap, and more
attention will be given to the ideas than to the chrono-
logical order of their first appearance.

Necessity is either logical or nonlogical. Logical
necessity is a characteristic of propositions or of their


linguistic expressions. It is the subject matter of formal
logic. Nonlogical or substantive necessity—e.g., meta-
physical, natural, historical—is a characteristic of rela-
tions between parts or aspects of reality which may,
but need not, be temporally separate. The statement
that a part or aspect of reality, say α, necessitates
another part or aspect of reality, say β, means in its
weakest (and least tenable) sense no more than that
whenever α exists then, as a matter of fact, β coexists
with it, or that whenever α occurs then, as a matter
of fact, it is succeeded by β. In its stronger senses the
statement means in addition that the coexistence or
succession is grounded in some deeper feature of reality
which is accessible to introspection, observation, or
reflection of a special kind.

What a person or society means by its concept of
necessity cannot be understood in isolation from the
whole conceptual system in which this concept is em-
bedded. It cannot, in particular, be isolated from the
manner in which the system serves the differentiation
of experience into individual phenomena and cate-
gories of such, the predictive connection of phenom-
ena, and the explanation of phenomena in an intellec-
tually satisfactory manner. A person's concept of
necessitation clearly depends on the manner in which
he individuates phenomena (e.g., whether he places
them into unidirectional or cyclical time) and on the
categories of phenomena which he acknowledges (e.g.,
supernatural events). It depends on the concepts which
he uses for prediction (which may include concepts
of pure chance or randomness and thus limit the
applicability of “regular succession” and consequently
of “necessitation”). Lastly, a person's concept of neces-
sitation is closely related to his general view of a
satisfactory explanation (which may lead to the assess-
ment of certain kinds of necessitation as blind or unin-
telligible). The explanatory power of a conceptual
system does not lie in any of its specific concepts, such
as a particular concept of necessitation. It resides
rather in the conceptual system as a whole, insofar as
the person who uses it in his reflections is satisfied with
it or, at least, prefers it to alternatives which are avail-
able or conceivable to him. Thus a conceptual system
of great predictive power, the application of whose
concepts excludes the existence of a worshipped Deity,
will give less intellectual satisfaction to a theist than
a conceptual system with little predictive power,
which does justice to his religious beliefs and emotions.

The explanatory power and general intellectual ap-
peal of conceptual systems, whatever their specific
content, depends to a considerable extent on the degree
of their systematic unity, in particular on their capacity
to serve the description and prediction of the course
of events in a uniform way. Western thought has from
its very beginnings shown a marked tendency to extend
modes of description and prediction which have given
intellectual satisfaction in one field of reflection to
others, in particular to conceive of phenomena as being
“ultimately” of one type only (physical, mental, spirit-
ual, etc.), and of predictive connections as also being
“ultimately” one (teleological efficacy, mechanical
causation, probabilistic connection, etc.). The historical
development of conceptual systems is characterized by
fairly long periods in which one mode of description
and prediction is dominant in the sense that it consti-
tutes the archetype and standard of intelligibility and
explanation. There have also been comparatively brief
periods in which two or more modes of description
and prediction had a more or less equally intellectual
appeal or vied for superiority.

2. The Beginnings of Greek Science and Philosophy.
The predecessor of both natural and historical expla-
nation is mythical thinking. Looked at from the outside
a myth is a story which, among other things, functions
as a metaphorical description and predictive connec-
tion of natural or social phenomena, regarding them
as manifestations of supernatural agencies. This char-
acterization, although sufficient here, suffers from the
obvious defect that it uses concepts which are not only
unavailable to mythological thinking, but quite alien
to it. Mythological thinking makes no sharp distinction
between metaphor and plain description, or between
the orders of nature and history on the one hand and
the supernatural on the other. A proper appreciation
of mythological explanation would have to proceed by
means of some anthropological theory which regards
thinking in terms of myths and thinking in terms of
a nonmythical, conceptual system as species of the
same genus and employs a suitable apparatus for in-
vestigating the whole genus. (For an attempt in this
direction and further literature see C. Lévi-Strauss,
Structural Anthropology [1963], especially Chapter XI.)
It seems worth emphasizing the difference between
total mythical thinking and the employment of myth
in order to indicate and fill gaps in nonmythical expla-
nations. The latter kind of mythologizing, which has
affinities with the expression of an intellectual message
by a work of art, is occasionally and with great effect
employed by Plato, for example in the tenth book of
the Republic.

The beginnings of a conscious opposition between
myth and reality, and the conscious working out of
conceptions of metaphysical, natural, and historical
necessity are found in the philosophers of Miletus of
the seventh century B.C. It is likely that the meta-
physical speculations of Thales and his successors were
stimulated by the mathematical and physical discover-
ies of their neighbors. Mathematical truth and the


logical necessity which connects the axioms of geome-
try with its theorems became the archetype of every
kind of necessary connection. It was then that the idea
of the book of nature being written in the language
of mathematics first took hold of metaphysicians and
scientists. Pythagoras of Samos (ca. 540-500 B.C.) is
reported to have expressed it by the dictum that things
are numbers.

The main philosophical effort of the pre-Socratic
thinkers is devoted to an understanding of the physical
universe, i.e., of its real nature or Physis (φύσισ)—a term
with different, though closely related, meanings. It
means in particular the ultimate constituents or ele-
ments of natural phenomena, their real essence and
the laws underlying their genesis or growth out of each
other. Physis in all these senses is opposed to Tyche
(τύκη) or chance, which is often conceived as mere
appearance. Physis is also, especially, in the sense of
conformity to permanent, unalterable laws of nature
opposed to Nomos (νόμος) in the sense of accidental,
man-made, social convention. The pre-Socratics were,
particularly through the atomistic theories of Leu-
cippus and Democritus, more successful in propos-
ing fruitful concepts and classifications of ultimate
physical elements than in formulating laws of the reg-
ular or necessary connection of phenomena. They
expressed the need for such laws rather than the laws

3. The Age of Plato and Aristotle. The interest in
a scientific, as opposed to a mythological, under-
standing of social and historical phenomena starts, on
the one hand, with the attempts by Herodotus and
Thucydides to report the remembered (rather than the
mythically conjectured) past, and on the other hand
with Socrates' criticism of the moral conventionalism
and relativism of his contemporaries, a relativism
which is a consequence of the opposition between
physical necessity and human convention. For the
Greeks there was no essential difference between indi-
vidual and social morality, so that for them ethical
inquiry leads naturally into an examination of the
structure of political life and of the genesis, growth,
and decay of societies. The philosophy of Plato presents
us with an explicitly formulated conceptual framework
by whose application not only the physical, but also
the social universe is to become intelligible and which
is to reveal the reality behind the changing natural
and social phenomena.

Plato's conception of natural and historical necessity
is in many ways a synthesis of his predecessors' theories,
although it is fair to say that the dominant Platonic
mode of explanation is the Pythagorean mathematiza-
tion of the physical universe, i.e., the attempt to un-
derstand physical reality in terms of an underlying
mathematical structure. The reason for this is that
while geometry and astronomy were highly developed
sciences, Herodotus, Thucydides, and the Greek histo-
rians generally were content with rather modest in-
ductive generalizations and marginal comments on the
role of chance and necessity in history.

Plato's central doctrine, which he developed
throughout his life and which scholars find difficult to
disentangle from the oral teachings of his master
Socrates, is an attempt to understand the ever-changing
physical and social world by relating it to an unchang-
ing reality. This reality he conceives as mind-
independent Ideas or Forms which stand in unchange-
able relations to each other. The Forms are, as it were,
eternal models of which the changing phenomena are
imperfect copies. It seems that in its final version the
Platonic metaphysics rests on mathematical Forms,
such as the Forms of the One and the Many, of the
perfect straight line or the circle; and ethico-political
Forms such as the Form of perfect courage or of the
perfect social community.

To explain the phenomena in their necessary rela-
tions to each other is to grasp the ideal structure—the
Form or the relationship between Forms—to which
they approximate or in which they “partake,” and the
degree of this approximation. Thus a mathematical
physicist understands the necessary connections in the
movement of physical bodies as close approximations
to mathematically expressed relations between mathe-
matical Forms; and thus a social philosopher (in Plato's
aristocratic tradition) understands the Athenian society
of the fourth century B.C. as a very poor approximation
to a perfectly just city-community. Plato's conception
of the connection of natural phenomena as a fairly
close reflection of the necessary connection between
Forms is one of the seminal ideas in Western scientific
thought and has—as is almost universally agreed by
experts—helped to shape the methodology of Galileo
Galilei and his successors.

In the philosophy of history, and in historical think-
ing generally, Plato's approach has proved less influen-
tial, although his Republic has been the model for the
construction of many utopias and has thus indirectly
influenced political thought and action. The compara-
tive lack of Platonic influences on later theories of
history might be explained on two counts. First, the
projection of permanent, especially mathematical,
structures into temporal processes fits on the whole
repetitive processes better than unrepetitive ones, and
sets strict limits to the emergence of novel features
as opposed to mere recombinations of preexisting ele-
ments. Second, Plato's theory of the mind as inde-
pendent of nature conflicts with the conception that
man can change nature by his actions in accordance


with ideas which are not so much his discovery as his

When Plato tries to apply his theory of Forms to
historical change, it loses the inner completeness which
it possesses as a philosophy of mathematics and the
natural sciences. He has to draw not only on rudimen-
tary psychological and biological theories but also
heavily on myth. The myth of the universe developing
in ever-repeating cycles, which is found in most ori-
ental religions, helps him to explain social change as
a gradual decay of a community from the golden age
of a just aristocracy to the state of almost complete
political injustice in a tyranny. The decay is brought
about by biological deterioration through intermar-
riage of the guardians of the state with members of
the lower social orders and is ultimately (perhaps only
ironically) explained in astrological terms.

Just as Plato's way of classifying and connecting of
phenomena is mainly inspired by the mathematics and
physics of his time, so Aristotle's mode of explanation
is modelled on biological and anthropological descrip-
tions and predictions in terms of purposes. Very
roughly speaking, Aristotle extends the manner in
which a person plans and acts, in order to achieve his
purpose or purposes, to the objective phenomena of
the physical and of the social universe: whatever exists
has a purpose and every change is a stage in the real-
ization of a purpose. Necessary connections in the real
world, as opposed to logical connections between
propositions, are teleological. The principles of any
scientific inquiry whatsoever are mainly developed in
his first philosophy or “metaphysics” which he con-
ceives as the science of being qua being, in opposition
to the special sciences which “divide off some portion
of being and study the attributes of this portion, as
do for example the mathematical sciences” (Meta-
IV, 1003a ff.). The nature of material things,
including men, is understood in terms of his doctrine
of the four causes of which “one is the essence or
essential nature of the thing..., the second is the
matter or substratum; the third is the source of motion;
and the fourth is the cause which is opposite to this,
namely the purpose or 'good'; for this is the end of
every generative or motive process” (Metaphysics I,
983a 20ff.).

To ask for an explanation is thus always to ask for
a purpose. This mode of explanation is applied by
Aristotle throughout—in ethics and politics as well as
in physics. But whereas teleological explanations—at
least in the attenuated form where the purpose of an
organism is replaced by the totality of its functions—
have been kept alive in the biological and social sci-
ences and in history, a wholly antiteleological manner
of explanation has dominated the natural sciences since
the times of Galileo.

Although Aristotle's conception of teleological con-
nection with its strong tendency to differentiate the
world into organic units was to influence many later
philosophers of history, his own interest in history was
negligible and his assessment of its intellectual context
almost contemptuous. Even poetry “is something more
philosophical and of more serious import than history
since its statements are of the nature of universals,
whereas those of history are singulars” (Poetics 1451b
5). This statement foreshadows the view that the histo-
rian cannot discover, and should not search for, general
laws governing the events whose sequence he records
in their concrete and unrepeatable singularity.

Neither Platonism, with its predominant mathe-
matical orientation, nor Aristotelianism, with its anti-
historical bias, could provide Greek historians with any
explicitly formulated philosophical or scientific con-
cept of historical necessity. They had to link their
theorizing either with the traditional myths or develop
their own theoretical understanding while grappling
with their subject matter. Roman culture did not
greatly increase the store of metaphysical, scientific,
or historical modes of explanation. But it confronted
the historian with the unprecedented success of Roman
political, legal, and military organization and, conse-
quently, with the specific problem of explaining it.

“Whoever,” asks Polybius, “is so obtuse and in-
different that he would not like to know, how and by
which kind of constitution the whole inhabited earth
has in not quite fifty-three years fallen under the rule
of one people, namely the Romans—something that
never happened before...?” (Historiae, Book I, Ch.
I). The question is based on the assumption that an
understanding of political structures and of the laws
governing their development contains the key to his-
torical understanding. This assumption is combined
with a methodological principle which anticipates the
later theories of Dilthey and Collingwood, namely that
historical explanation is closely allied to introspection.
Paraphrasing the well-known Platonic remark about
philosophers and kings, Polybius asserts that historical
writing will be in a satisfactory state “only when
statesmen will undertake the writing of history” or
when historians will “regard political activity as in-
dispensable to historical writing” (ibid., XII, III).

4. The Dominance of Theology. The rise of Chris-
tianity and the importance which it assumed in the
lives of men concentrated the intellectual energies of
the early Christians and of most medieval thinkers on
the formulation and elaboration of the teachings of the
New and the Old Testament in the forms of dogma
and theology. Greek modes of philosophical and scien-
tific thinking were used in the interpretation of the
Scriptures, but were subordinated to them. The result
is a unified view of the universe, created and governed


by the God of Christian (as well as of the Jewish and
Muhammadan) religion, and otherwise conceived after
the fashion of Platonism or Aristotelianism. The con-
flict between these two philosophies continues also
within the new theological framework. The dominance
of theology and of theological explanation implies that
all understanding of natural and social phenomena, and
of their connections, must ultimately be an understand-
ing, however imperfect, of the nature of God. All natu-
ral and historical necessity is ultimately theological.

Christian religious doctrine and its theoretical
elaboration through theology contains comparatively
few ideas which have any bearing on the development
of the natural sciences. This does not mean that the
period between the fall of Rome and the so-called
Renaissance was without influence on the development
of the natural sciences. Medieval thought was not all
theology and we have learned to distrust the older view
that there is no continuous development leading from
later medieval thought to modern science. Yet the
specifically religious doctrines of Christianity pro-
foundly influenced the Western conception of historical
necessity. The central ideas of a Christian philosophy
of history were expressed with great clarity by Saint
Augustine in his De civitate Dei. They constitute the
theoretical basis of most Christian historical writing
and recur in recognizable variants in many later philos-
ophies of history.

Neither Plato's conception of necessity, based on
mathematics and physics, nor Aristotle's conception of
necessity, based on (nonevolutionary) biology, excluded
the doctrine of a cyclical history as expressed in some
Greek myths. Augustine insists that this conception is
incompatible with Christian dogma, since “Christ died
only once because of our sins and since having risen
from the dead He does not die again...” (De civitate
Book XII, Ch. XIV). If there exists one sequence
of events which is not repeatable, then any doctrine
of the eternal repetition of all events must be rejected.
Moreover the world and time—for Augustine, like
Leibniz, regards the concept of an empty time as
spurious—have one beginning in being created by God
and one end, the Last Judgment.

Since history is the manifestation of the will of God,
who created man after His own image, it is meaningful
to inquire into the purpose or sense of history. Just
as Aristotle explained the course of nature in terms
of purposes conceived after the analogy of man's pur-
poses, so it is possible to conceive God's purpose in
history after the analogy of human ends. God's purpose
in history is a moral purpose, which we cannot fully
grasp, except at the end of history, which will also
reveal it as the true theodicy, i.e. as the vindication
of the divine providence in spite of the existence of
evil and wickedness.

The working of the divine providence cannot be
explained by any purely philosophical or scientific
theory. It must be explained with the help of the
Christian moral insight that mankind is divided into
two kinds: “such as live according to man, and such
as live according to God.” Augustine calls them the
“two cities” of “which one is predestinated to reign
eternally with God, the other condemned to perpetual
torment with the devil” (ibid., Book XIII, Ch. I). He
calls the distinction “mystical,” an expression which
might suggest a remote similarity to the explanatory
use of myths by Plato. Indeed the relation between
the two cities is explained by reference to the story
of Cain and Abel according to which “Cain built a
city, but Abel was a pilgrim and built none. For the
city of the saints is above, though it have citizens here
on earth....” The working of divine providence in
the conflicts between the two cities anticipates later
patterns of historical explanations, e.g., the working
of Hegel's or Marx's dialectics of history in the conflicts
between nations and social classes.

5. The Emergence of Modern Science. The Renais-
sance was not so much a period of the wholesale rejec-
tion of medieval thought, as of the critical reassessment
of medieval and classical theories in an atmosphere in
which theology was no longer the predominant mode
of explanation. This atmosphere not only gave rise to
the impression of novel theories but favored the
emergence of real novelty. The thinkers of this period
were right—though not all to the same degree—in
calling their theories “new” sciences opposing them
to old and often useless ones. The Novum Organum
(1620) of Francis Bacon was to put a new inductive
logic beside the old deductive logic of Aristotle. The
Two New Sciences (1638) of Galileo “pertaining to
mechanics and local movements” were to replace the
Aristotelian physics and by implication much of the
Aristotelian and Thomistic metaphysics. The Discourse
of Method
(1637) by Descartes was to be a new
methodology of science in the sense that “while com-
prising the advantages” of the logic and analysis of
the ancients and the algebra of the moderns it was
to be “exempt from their faults” and applicable in all
inquiries (Discourse..., Parts I, II). The Principles
of a New Science
(1725) by G. B. Vico was to lay the
foundation of a science of the historical—as opposed
to the natural—world.

According to Bacon the connection between phe-
nomena is discoverable by classification, inductive
generalization, and experimental testing, provided that
the procedure of the inquirer is governed by the proper
method. Bacon's importance lies more in his insistence
on the need to test theories and on the pragmatic and
technological aspects of science, than on any clear
methodological achievement. His method, which


depends among other things on the assumption that
every natural phenomenon consists of a finite number
of “Forms,” is not the method of Galileo and his suc-
cessors. The reason for this and for Bacon's lack of
understanding of the physics of Copernicus and Galileo
is Bacon's neglect of the role of mathematics in physics.

Galileo's conception of natural necessity, which he
explains by occasional remarks in his Dialogues, com-
bines the Platonic conviction that the structure of the
universe is expressible in mathematical language, with
the Baconian conviction that the truth of any scientific
law or theory must be established by experiment and
observation. Galileo claims that the combined use of
mathematical theorizing and empirical testing may
reveal necessities in the course of nature and not
merely “hypotheses,” i.e., provisional, predictively
useful assumptions. (The issue between the Inquisition
and Galileo concerns this philosophical point about the
nature of the Copernican astronomy—even though
Galileo's treatment at the hands of Cardinal Bellarmine
does not appear any different for being based on philo-
sophical rather than scientific heterodoxy.)

If Bacon's nonmathematical, inductive, and prag-
matic methodology corresponds only very imperfectly
to Galilean physics, it expresses the practice of the
Renaissance historians much more closely. Their atten-
tion is fully devoted to descriptions, predictions, and
practical precepts based on the observation of a secular
society apart from any relations which it may have
to the Augustinian society of God. Historical writing
in the Renaissance differs less from that of a
Thucydides, Polybius, Livy, or Tacitus, than does
scientific theorizing from its classical predecessors. This
was recognized by most historians of that age who
follow Machiavelli in paying sincere tribute to the
Greek and Roman historians.

6. The Age of Rationalist Epistemology. Galileo's
scientific achievement and the absence of any similarly
spectacular success in the understanding of social and
historical phenomena play a large role in shaping the
modern epistemological approach to mathematics, the
natural sciences, and history. This approach is based
on the assumption that the conditions for the truth or
necessity of all kinds of propositions are found not only
in the structure of a mind-independent reality but also
in the constitution of the mind which apprehends this
reality. Although the assumption is not new (it is, for
example, found in Neo-Platonism) it becomes dominant
in the thought of Descartes and Vico.

Descartes opposes his own conceptions of necessary
connection and deduction to those of formal logic.
Logical deduction—e.g., the deduction of Pythagoras'
theorem from the axioms of Euclidean geometry—only
exhibits the content of the premisses without enlarging
it. The syllogisms and most other rules of logic “serve
on the whole the purpose of explaining to others what
one already knows” (Discourse on Method, Part II).
Cartesian deduction is intended to be ampliative like
induction, which leads beyond the content of the
premisses. But it is intended also to be certain like
formal deduction, so that if we start with self-evident
axioms we arrive at genuinely (as opposed to merely
psychologically) new knowledge. It is, as it were, meant
to combine the merits of empirical induction and logi-
cal deduction.

Descartes' view of deduction is based on the alleged
recognition of necessary connections—a connection
“between things” being necessary “when one is so
implied in the other in a confused manner that we
cannot conceive either of them distinctly if we judge
them as separate from each other” (Regulae ad direc-
tionem ingenii,
comments on rule XII). The apprehen-
sion of necessary connections among phenomena may
be aided by experiments and observations, but consists
ultimately in our apprehending the connections among
our ideas. Descartes believed that it is possible to start
with one indubitable idea and to reveal in successive
deductive steps the whole coherent network of all
ideas; and that to do so is to reveal the whole of reality.
His own application of this method, to which he
ascribed his immortal discovery of analytical geometry,
yields among other things a fallacious proof of the
existence of God. His influence on later thinkers is
enormous. Almost any later theory which employs a
conception of a nonlogical necessity or of nonlogical,
but certain, inference can be traced back to Descartes'
ideas of “necessary connection” and “deduction.” To
mention only the most obvious examples, the Hegelian
(and therefore also the Marxist) conception of dialecti-
cal necessity and dialectical reasoning, and all so-called
coherence theories of truth are heavily indebted to

Since history and social phenomena are intimately
connected with human motives, designs, and reasoning,
one would expect Descartes' introspective epistemo-
logical approach to be particularly fruitful in the phi-
losophy of history. Many historians, such as Polybius
or Machiavelli, try to understand political events and
their connections by entering into the minds of states-
men—minds which apart from their special training
and character are like the minds of all other men. They
share Descartes' assumption that the human mind is
capable of apprehending reality and that “the power
of forming a good judgment and of distinguishing the
true from the false... is by nature equal in all men”
(Discourse on Method, Part I). Yet the affinity between
Descartes' epistemology and the historians' approach
is obscured by his almost exclusive interest in mathe-


matics and the natural sciences, whose “mechanistic”
assumptions, simplifications, and terminology are alien
to historical description and explanations as practiced
by working historians.

Giambattista Vico attacks Cartesianism for its one-
sidedness and neglect of historical knowledge which
is different from, independent of, and superior to natu-
ral knowledge. According to Vico in his Principi di una
scienza nuova
(1725) the philosophers have failed to
reflect on the “world of nations or the historical world”
which is accessible to human knowledge “because men
have created it,” whereas nature as the creation of God
is known only to Him (3rd ed., Naples, 1744). History
is a branch of “philology”—the genetic science of
man's creations such as “languages and the deeds of
the nations, the internal deeds such as morals and laws
as well as the external deeds such as war, peace,
treaties, travels, commerce” (ibid., Book III, sec. 3,
§139). Just as Plato, Galileo, and successive generations
of theoretical physicists have explained the course of
nature in terms of ideal, mathematical structures, so
the new science of philology and more especially of
history is to explain the course of history in terms of
“an eternal ideal history traversed in time by the
histories of all nations” (ibid., Book II, sec. 1, §393).
Whoever reflects on this science is, “in so far as he is
telling himself this eternal ideal history,” apprehending
historically necessary connections because “he who
creates the things is talking about his own creation.”

Vico compares the necessities of history to the
necessities of geometry. He proposes principles of
historical understanding and the evaluation of historical
evidence among which he includes, in particular, myth
and language. He revives the Augustinian doctrine of
divine providence which “men without noticing it and
often contrary to their plans” help to realize. This
doctrine is very like Hegel's “cunning of the Absolute.”

Vico's necessary connections are, like the Cartesian
ones, nonlogical and yet certain because both are
derived from allegedly self-evident principles by
allegedly self-evident steps. And just as Descartes pro-
ceeds by way of allegedly necessary connections to
unprovable metaphysical dogmas and obsolete physical
hypotheses, so Vico proceeds in similar manner to
unprovable dogmas of an Augustinian theology and to
obsolete anthropological hypotheses. Although the
necessary connections of Descartes and Vico rest on
feelings or convictions, which are by no means perma-
nent and characteristic of all generations, they both
profoundly influenced their successors. It is rightly said
of Vico that he belonged to the nineteenth century
rather than his own. His theory of the nature of myth
and language might even be said to belong to the
twentieth century.

7. The Period of Empiricism and Kantianism.
Descartes' mechanistic and Vico's historical neces-
sitarianism, which explain the connection of phenom-
ena in terms of ideal mathematical systems and ideal
genetic sequences, are only one answer to the philo-
sophical problem posed by Galileo's success in creating
that unity of observation and mathematical theorizing
which is theoretical physics. A diametrically opposite
solution of the problem was attempted by the British
empiricists Locke, Berkeley, and particularly Hume,
whose account of the concept of necessary connection
(outside logic and mathematics) is, briefly, that the
concept is strictly speaking empty. Men, according to
Hume, observe no more than apparently regular repe-
titions in nature and history. These regularities
strengthen, as a matter of fact, our beliefs, expectations,
and predictive habits that the observed past will be
like the future and was like the unobserved past. The
illusion of a (strictly) necessary natural and historical
connection or natural and historical causality arises
from our mistaking a subjective expectation of a regu-
lar sequence for a feature of the objective world. Yet
the concept of causal connection qua observed and
expected regularity in the sequence of phenomena is,
according to Hume, indispensable to both science and
history. Thus, the ideas of necessity in Descartes'
“geometric method” and in Vico's “historical method”
are replaced by a contingent psychological determin-
ism of “habit” in Hume.

Descartes' attempt to assimilate the observed regu-
larities in nature to mathematical or quasi-mathe-
matical necessities, and Hume's attempt to exorcise
all noncontingent connections from the regularities
observed, seem to be one-sided accounts of Galilean
physics, and call for a synthesis which does justice to
them both. Kant's philosophy was intended to be such
a synthesis. Its central idea reminds one of Vico's
remarks that man as the maker of his history can know
his creation. According to Kant man is to a cer-
tain extent, which is capable of clear demarcation,
also the maker of his world, namely, of nature as
apprehended by him. Kant holds that the manifold of
sense-experience is located in space and time, which
are forms of human intuition, and organized into ob-
jective phenomena by the application of Categories,
which are forms of human conceptual organization.
The necessity of mathematical propositions is due to
their describing the structure of space and time. The
necessity of the general principles of science, such as
the principle of causality or principle of the con-
servation of substance, is due to their expressing condi-
tions for organizing the manifold of sense-experience
(by the application of the Categories) into the experi-
ence of an objective world or a world of public objects.


The details of the Kantian synthesis of empiricism
and rationalism—a synthesis deeply influenced by
Galilean and Newtonian physics—cannot be described
here. Its most important features from our present
point of view are the following: first, the human mind
does not only apprehend the world passively, but im-
poses its own perceptual and conceptual form upon
it. Second, the principles describing the forms of
perceptual and conceptual organization are both syn-
thetic (i.e., not merely truths of logic) and a priori (i.e.,
independent of sense-impressions). Third, the synthetic
a priori propositions determine the fundamental struc-
ture of the natural sciences and of morality. Fourth,
the synthetic a priori principles are common and in-
dispensable to all human thinkers. Fifth, apart from
the synthetic a priori principles which express the
conditions of an objective experience possible to human
beings, the human mind also forms concepts, called
“Ideas,” which introduce heuristic, aesthetic, teleolog-
ical, or systematic unity into scientific thinking, but
which have no objective content. The conception of
a providential design in history is such an Idea.

Both Hume and Kant wrote on historical topics.
Hume's History of Great Britain (1745-63) is—as might
be expected—methodologically no different from the
mainly descriptive, cautiously inductive, and mildly
moralizing historical writings of, say, a Voltaire; it
shows no obvious traces of his philosophical position.
Kant's more speculative historical essays, on universal
history, and on perpetual peace—Idee zu einer
allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht,

(1784) and Zum ewigen Frieden (1795)—bear the obvi-
ous stamp of his theory of Ideas. Thus he says in the
first of these works that “one may regard” (my empha-
sis) the history of mankind “as the execution of a hidden
plan of nature in order to achieve an internally—and
to this purpose also externally—perfect constitution as
the only state of affairs in which nature can fully
develop all the faculties of mankind” (trans. S. Körner).

In the period from Vico to Hegel there is, on the
whole, a lively interaction between the natural sciences
and philosophy. In this interaction philosophers for the
most part accept the scientific method as an implicit
standard of truth and reasoning, which they try to
clarify and extend to other fields. There are—unless
we confer the status of a philosophical theory on the
romantics' worship of personalities and person-
ality—no important new departures in either the phi-
losophy of history or in the writing of history. Montes-
quieu, Voltaire, and others are eager to find and apply
general psychological and sociological laws which are
essentially Baconian in form and inspiration.

8. The Age of Hegel and Marx. Kant distinguishes
sharply between the empirical self or subject, revealed
in self-awareness and introspection, and the transcen-
dental self or subject; the latter, by connecting subjec-
tive impressions into objective experience is the source
of necessity in mathematics and the natural sciences.
Kant's concept of the transcendental self seemed both
obscure and unsatisfactory to his immediate idealist
successors such as Fichte and Schelling. It seemed to
them to hover precariously between mere intersubjec-
tivity and real objectivity and to be too modestly
endowed with creative powers, especially the power
to create historical reality. The tendency to identify
the transcendental self with more familiar ideas such
as the spirit of a nation, of a society, or of mankind
was strengthened by the emergence of a romantic
nationalism in Germany and elsewhere and by the
resistance of German philosophical jurists to the ever
increasing preponderance of Roman law over the orig-
inal German law. The leader of the so-called historical
school of law was F. C. von Savigny (1779-1861) who
taught that the substance of any legal system “is deter-
mined by the whole past of a nation—not as the result
of arbitrary decisions so that it might be this rather
than another, but as emerging from the innermost spirit
of the nation and its history” (“Vom Beruf unse-
rer Zeit für Gesetzgebung und Rechtswissenschaft,”
Zeitschrift für geschichtliche Rechtswissenschaft
[1815], Vol. 1, No. 1.). Savigny's conception of legal
development is essentially one of organic develop-
ment—the developing organisms being not individuals
but nations. In this respect the historical school of law
reminds one of Rousseau's social theory and of Burke's
reflections on politics, among others.

In Hegel's philosophy the place of the Kantian
transcendental self which creates the necessary truths
is taken by the spirit or the Idea which is reality and
reveals itself to itself. Its essence Hegel calls “Logic”
or “Dialectics.” It expresses itself in space as Nature
and in time as History. Hegel identifies the Idea as
thought with the Idea as reality, and his philosophy
is no longer a mere theory of knowledge but it is also
a theory of reality. His grand system has been regarded
as a philosophical revelation by some and as preten-
tious rubbish by others, e.g., Karl Popper, in The Open
Society and its Enemies
(4th ed., 1963). But this is not
the place to enter the battlefield as a combatant. To
an outside observer the enormous influence of Hegel's
conception of dialectics and necessity on the philoso-
phy of history and on historical writing and politics
is indubitable. Their influence on the philosophy of
science and science itself is comparatively small.

From the point of view of Hegel's Logic the Idea
(die Idee = Spirit = Reality) is a system of necessarily
connected Categories which differ from each other in
richness of content. In trying to grasp the content of


a separate Category one is forced to think of another
with which it is necessarily connected. The connection
is not that of formal logic, but is synthetic and
ampliative, like the Cartesian necessary connection. It
is also “dialectical.” This means that if a thinker reflects
on the most general Category, namely “Being,” he is
forced to think its antithesis, namely “Nothing,” and
onwards to think the synthesis of “Being” and “Noth-
ing,” namely “Becoming.” The new Category is a thesis
which again “dialectically implies” its antithesis; thesis
and antithesis dialectically imply synthesis and so forth
until the absolute Idea is reached, which contains “the
truth” of all the poorer Categories. It is not feasible
here to show this “logical movement” in detail.

World history is the manifestation of the Idea in
time. Its bearer in every phase of history is a people
or, more precisely, the spirit of a people (Volksgeist).
The spirit of a people, however, has only a limited
existence and a content which dialectically implies the
emergence of another people, whose spirit is different.
The passions and actions of men are, as it were, used
by the spirit of the people to which they belong and
thus by the spirit of history as means for its self-
realization. This feature of historical development
which Hegel calls “the cunning of history” implies that
only the dialectical historian understands the necessi-
ties of history which remain obscure to the historian
who looks merely at individual plans and actions.

The Marxist philosophy of history owes much to the
Hegelian metaphysics. It is the creation of Karl Marx
in collaboration with Friedrich Engels, and is to some
extent the mirror image of Hegel's philosophy of his-
tory. Marx, like Hegel, holds that both nature and
history are dialectical in their essence. But he replaces
Hegel's “dialectical idealism” by a “dialectical materi-
alism.” In his view, “the mental [das Ideelle] is nothing
but the material as transferred and translated into the
human head” (Das Kapital, Vol. I, postscript to 2nd
ed., Hamburg [1872]). The substance of reality is not
spirit, but matter in dialectical movement. History is
the temporal manifestation of material reality which
is merely reflected in human minds or, more precisely,
in human brains. The ultimate stage of the historical
process is not a state which “governs persons” but the
mere “administration of things and the guidance of
processes of production.” “The state,” which according
to Hegel is the highest form of human organization,
withers away” (F. Engels, Herrn Eugen Dührings
Umwälzung der Wissenschaft
[“Herr Eugen Duhring's
Revolution in Science
”] Stuttgart, 1894). The vehicles
of dialectical, historical progress are not peoples, or
the spirit of peoples, but social classes. History in its
essence is the history of class struggles. It is these class
struggles which are used by the “cunning of history”
to lead through thesis, antithesis, and synthesis to the
classless society, i.e., perfect communism in which
everybody uses his abilities as best he can and every-
body's needs are fully satisfied.

The following often quoted passage—from the
preface to Zur Kritik der politischen Oekonomie
(Berlin, 1859)—conveys the central points of Marx's
theory of history:

In the social production which men carry on they enter
into definite relations that are indispensable and inde-
pendent of their will; these relations of production corre-
spond to a definite stage of development of their material
forces of production. The sum total of these relations of
production constitutes the economic structure of society—
the real foundation on which rises a legal and political
superstructure and to which corresponds definite forms of
social consciousness. The mode of production in material
life determines the social, political and intellectual life
processes in general. It is not the consciousness of men that
determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social
being that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage
of their development, the material forces of production in
society come in conflict with the existing relations of pro-
duction or—what is but a legal expression for the same
thing—with the property relations within which they have
been at work before. From forms of development of the
forces of production these relations turn into their fetters.
Then begins an epoch of social revolution.... In broad
outlines we can designate the Asiatic, the ancient, the feudal
and the modern bourgeois modes of production as so many
epochs in the progress of the economic formation of society

(trans. S. Körner).

The parallels between this summary of the Marxist
philosophy of history and the Hegelian are fairly obvi-
ous. The irrefutability of both these philosophies by
the actual course of history is guaranteed by the very
generality and flexibility of their concepts and theses.
There is, however, another way of considering Marx's
philosophical pronouncements, namely, not as de-
scriptive but as programmatic or regulative. This is
what Marxists seem to mean when they say that
Marxism is “not a dogma, but a method.” On this
interpretation the principles of Marxist philosophy
require the construction of testable, predictive
theories—in particular economic and sociological
theories—implying specific predictions rather than
statements which are too comprehensive to be exposed
to precise tests. So far the most elaborate theory, con-
forming to the Marxist philosophical program, is Marx's
economic theory.

9. Positivism and Historical Empathy. Insofar as
positivism is the rejection of the truth-claims of any
theories other than empirical or logico-mathematical,
it can be traced at least to Hume. The name “positiv-
ism” was coined by Auguste Comte (1798-1857) who


claimed to have discovered a law of historical progress
of all societies from a stage of theological fiction in
which the human mind “supposes all phenomena to
be produced by the direct and continual action of
supernatural beings” through the metaphysical stage,
where the place of supernatural beings is taken by
abstract forces, which are really “personified abstrac-
tions,” to the positive stage where the mind “has given
up the search after the origin and destiny of the uni-
verse and applies itself to the study of the laws govern-
ing the phenomena”—the laws being conceived as
describing “their invariable relations of succession and
resemblance (Cours de philosophie positive, 7th ed.,
1877, première leçon). The positive stage of physics has
been reached rather early, the positive stage of physi-
ology very late. It is the task of Comte's philosophy
to prepare the necessary historical ground for “social
physics.” Comte's law of the three stages and Darwin's
theory of evolution were among the main reasons for
the rise in the nineteenth century of an optimistic
scientism according to which the physical sciences,
fashioned in Newtonian style, and the biological and
social sciences, subordinated to Darwin's theory of
evolution, are capable of answering all meaningful
empirical questions; they inevitably produce the mate-
rial and moral progress of mankind as a necessary
consequence of the increase of human knowledge.

Thus J. S. Mill argues that the “order of human
progression in all respects will mainly depend on the
order of progression in the intellectual convictions of
mankind.” This view is also held by H. T. Buckle, who
bases his History of Civilization in England (1857-61)
on four “leading propositions.” The first asserts “that
the progress of mankind depends on the success with
which the laws of phenomena are investigated, and
on the extent to which a knowledge of those laws is
diffused” (Civilization, Vol. II, beginning of Ch. I). The
Marxist and positivist views of science and history are
as much a part of the contemporary scene as are the
views of their opponents to which we now turn.

For the positivists history is part of nature and his-
torical necessity is no different from natural necessity.
They implicitly reject Vico's distinction between the
“philological” and the natural sciences as concerned
respectively with two fundamentally different realms
of phenomena. This distinction is forcefully revived by
W. Dilthey (1833-1911), whose main aim was to lay
the foundations of an empirical science of mental
phenomena. The means for understanding these
phenomena is the empathy by which a person under-
stands another as a spiritual being. Only such under-
standing (Verstehen), from the inside as it were, and
not external observation and scientific explanation can
reveal the nature of works of art and other human
creations and the nature of historical development.

A theory of historical understanding, which is in-
debted to Dilthey and his predecessors from Hegel to
Vico, has been expounded with great clarity by R. G.
Collingwood in The Idea of History (Oxford, 1946). To
understand an historical event and the historical se-
quence of events is to “reenact” the experience of the
people who were involved in them. It has often been
pointed out that it is logically impossible to reenact
any event or sequence of events, if only because of
its spatio-temporal uniqueness; and that it is impossible
for one person to reenact the experiences of a crowd
of people or any other interacting group of persons,
if only because the historian is one person and not
many simultaneously interacting persons. Yet the inner
experience of different persons may nevertheless have
some features in common, to which description and
theorizing after the fashion of the natural sciences has
no access. In practice almost all historians assume some
degree of empathy in their readers and some uniform-
ity in human feelings, desires, motives, and plans.

10. Twentieth-Century Views of History. The phi-
losophy of history of the twentieth century is no longer
dominated by the idea of historical progress, which for
Christian historians follows from their theology, for
Hegelians and Marxists from their dialectical meta-
physics, and for positivists from evolutionary biology.
By opposing historical and natural necessity, it becomes
possible once again to adopt a cyclical conception of
historical development, especially if the ultimate sub-
ject of historical development is conceived as a kind
of organism with a limited time of life. The Darwinian
theory of evolution is quite compatible with a nonevo-
lutionary theory of quasi-organisms, such as nations,
societies, civilizations which emerge and decay in
essentially the same manner. Such a theory was devel-
oped by O. Spengler in deliberate opposition to scien-
tific theorizing and in a much attenuated form by
A. J. Toynbee. In reading Spengler one may have the
impression that he does violence to historical facts in
order to fit them into his idiosyncratic vision. In reading
Toynbee one may, on the contrary, have the impression
that his main theses are formulated in so general,
vague, and qualified a manner that no historical fact
could ever clearly conflict with them.

Spengler distinguishes between the world as nature
and the world as history—each of these worlds being
understood in terms of entirely different categories.
The category by the application of which all natural
change can be predicted and explained is mechanical
causality; the category in terms of which all historical
change can be predicted and explained is destiny. The
bearers of natural change are physical systems; the
bearers of destiny are cultures. The causal laws
governing the changes of physical systems are formu-
lated by mathematical formulae; the destiny of a cul-


ture which it realizes in its historical development is
expressed by analogy. The structure of natural time
is discovered by physics. The structure of historical
time is such that two cultures at the “same” stage of
development are to be regarded as contemporary.
Thus, for example, the period of the oldest Upanishads
in India, of the Orphic religion in Greece, and of
Nicholas of Cusa (Cusanus) in Western culture are
contemporary. Historical necessity is apprehended by
recognizing through analogy the “spring,” “summer,”
“autumn,” and “winter” of a culture as it develops its
inner essence, expressed by its “prime symbol.” The
“prime symbol” of the Greco-Roman culture is “the
individual body” as the ideal type of the extended,
whereas the prime symbol of Western or “Faustian”
culture is “pure and infinite space.” (See Vol. 1, Ch.
III of Der Untergang des Abendlandes, Munich [1920];
The Decline of the West, 2 vols., New York [1926;

Even a much fuller description of Spengler's vision
of the necessary realization of the destinies of the
various cultures would seem bizarre to some and pro-
found to others. Some methodological remarks how-
ever seem in order. First, Spengler's these are sup-
posed to be intuitively clear so that whoever remains
unconvinced can be accused of not having grasped
them. Second, since so-called arguments by analogy
lack cogency and have merely heuristic value,
Spengler's exposition at best suggests a point of view
which needs independent justification. Third,
Spengler's intuitive understanding of historical devel-
opment is an extreme, and thus much more vulnerable
form of Dilthey's conception of historical under-
standing, since we are not merely asked to enter the
minds of other human beings but the “mind” of a
pseudo-organism called “a culture.” Yet, if we consider
Spengler from the point of view of the history of ideas
we must admit that he is firmly rooted in a tradition
to which Hegel, Vico, and even Augustine belong or
have strong affinities.

A. J. Toynbee's philosophy of history is, as he ac-
knowledges, very closely related to Spengler's although
he developed his own ideas independently. He too
holds the view of the “philosophical contemporaneity
of all civilizations.” (See Ch. I of Civilization on Trial,
Oxford [1948], part of which is reprinted in Theories
of History,
ed. P. Gardiner, Glencoe, Ill. [1959].) But
Toynbee rejects Spengler's historical determinism. The
genesis, development, and death of civilizations takes
the “form of challenge and response” and he sees no
reason “why a succession of stimulating challenges
should not be met with a succession of victorious re-
sponses ad infinitum.” But then he also sees no reason
why it should be so met. It is a restatement rather than
an explanation of the facts, to note that a challenge
does, or does not, elicit a successful response. Yet even
if Toynbee's account of challenges and responses in
different civilizations has less explanatory value than
may perhaps appear at first sight, it may have heuristic
value in directing the historian's mind to questions
about whole civilizations as units of historical develop-
ment and to a search for challenges and responses
which can be meaningfully and fruitfully ascribed to
a whole civilization. The heuristic value of this ap-
proach will depend on the historical knowledge and
grasp of the historian who adopts it. Toynbee's own
monumental Study of History in twelve volumes
(London, 1934-61) must, as a contribution to history,
be judged by other standards than those which have
to be applied to his rather meager conception of histo-
rical development and necessity.

11. Recent Views. As a result of the rise of modern
mathematical logic, recent philosophers of science
were provided with new analytical tools which per-
mitted a sharper analysis of the concept of necessity
in the natural sciences and of the relation between
natural and historical necessity. Though their accounts
of the notion of natural necessity differ in many details,
they agree in the following point: every fully-
developed scientific theory can be expressed as an
axiomatic system by adding to the logical and mathe-
matical framework within which its reasoning pro-
ceeds, the substantive concepts and postulates of the
theory. Thus classical mechanics is axiomatized by
adding both the substantive concepts occurring in the
three laws of motion and these laws themselves to the
logical and mathematical concepts and postulates of
classical logic and classical analysis (differential and
integral calculus). Let s1 be the description of a certain
state of the universe in terms of the physical theory,
and s2 be the description of another such state. Then
to say that the state described by s1 necessitates s2 is
equivalent to saying that the state-description s1 to-
gether with the substantive (i.e., non-logico-mathe-
matical) axioms of the theory logically imply (by vir-
tue of the underlying logical and mathematical theory)
the state-description s2. In some versions of this analy-
sis, e.g., by K. R. Popper in Die Logik der Forschung
(The Logic of Enquiry, 1935) s1 and s2 are regarded
as straightforward descriptions of the physical universe,
whereas in other versions s1 and s2 are regarded as
idealizations of physical states which can only in cer-
tain contexts and for certain purposes be identified with
descriptions (see Körner, 1967).

Some philosophers of science who accept the fore-
going account of natural necessity deny its applicability
to historical phenomena. Thus according to Popper
predictions connecting s1 and s2 in the manner ex-
plained, presuppose that s1 and s2 describe states of
systems which are “well-isolated, stationary and recur-


rent.” But “these systems are very rare in nature; and
modern society is surely not one of them” (“Prediction
and Prophecy in the Social Sciences,” in Theories of
ed. Gardiner [1959]). Popper concludes that
prediction of anything but the most trivial historical
events is impossible. Carl Hempel, on the contrary,
holds that historical prediction is substantially no
different from scientific prediction.

Just as Vico objected to the application of Descartes'
mechanistic philosophy to history, so some recent
philosophers protest against regarding historical expla-
nation as a species of scientific explanation. Like Vico
they point to other types of activity such as artistic
creation or simple storytelling as being more akin to
explaining and predicting historical events than, for
example, physics. Although admitting the possibility
of sociology and anthropology conceived as natural
sciences, they deny the reducibility of history to them.
The problem of the relation between natural and his-
torical necessity remains an open question.


Fuller bibliographies are contained in F. Wagner's
Geschichtswissenschaft (Freiburg, 1951), and P. Gardiner,
ed., Theories of History (Glencoe, Ill., 1959).

H. B. Acton, The Illusion of an Epoch (London, 1955).
I. Berlin, Karl Marx, 2nd ed. (London, 1948). H. T. Buckle,
History of Civilization in England, 4 vols. (London,
1857-61). J. Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy (London, 1930).
H. Butterfield, The Origins of Modern Science (London,
1950). I. B. Cohen, The Birth of a New Physics (London,
1961). B. Croce, The Philosophy of Giambattisto Vico, trans.
R. G. Collingwood (New York, 1913). W. Dray, Laws and
Explanation in History
(Oxford, 1957). F. Engels, Herrn
Eugen Dührings Umwälzung der Wissenschaft
1878; Stuttgart, 1894), trans. as Anti-Dühring: Herr Eugen
Duhring's Revolution in Science
(New York, 1966). G. C.
Field, The Philosophy of Plato (Oxford, 1949). J. N. Findlay,
Hegel: A Re-examination (London, 1958). W. B. Gallie,
Philosophy and the Historical Understanding (London,
1964). C. G. Hempel, Aspects of Scientific Explanation...
(New York, 1965). S. Hook, From Hegel to Marx (London,
1936). S. Körner, Experience and Theory (London, 1967).
A. Koyré, Études galiléennes (Paris, 1939). C. Lévi-Strauss,
Structural Anthropology, trans. C. Jacobson and B. G.
Schoepf (New York, 1963). K. Marx, Das Kapital, 2nd ed.
(Hamburg, 1872), Capital various editions; idem, Zur Kritik
der politischen Oekonomie
(Berlin, 1859), trans. as A Contri-
bution to the Critique of Political Economy
(New York, 1970).
H. J. Paton, Kant's Metaphysic of Experience (London,
1951). K. R. Popper, Die Logik der Forschung (Vienna, 1935),
trans. as The Logic of Scientific Discovery by the author,
with the assistance of Julius Freed and Lon Freed (London
and Toronto, 1959); idem, The Open Society and its Enemies
(London, 1945); idem, “Prediction and Prophecy in the
Social Sciences,” in Theories of History, ed. P. Gardiner
(Glencoe, Ill., 1959). J. E. Raven, Pythagoreans and Eleatics
(London, 1949). W. D. Ross, Aristotle, 5th ed. (London,
1949). A. Roux, La pensée d'Auguste Comte (Paris, 1920).
N. K. Smith, Studies in Cartesian Philosophy (London, 1902);
The Philosophy of David Hume (London, 1949). P. A.
Sorokin, Social Philosophy of an Age of Crisis (Boston, 1950).
O. Spengler, Der Untergang des Abendlandes (Munich,
1918), trans. as The Decline of the West, 2 vols. (New York,
1926-28). A. E. Taylor, Platonism and its Influence (London,
1932). A. Toynbee, Civilization on Trial (Oxford, 1948).
Giambattista Vico, Principi di una scienza nuova, 1st ed.
(Naples, 1725; repr. Bari, 1942), trans. T. Bergin and M.
Fisch as The New Science (Ithaca, 1948). W. H. Walsh, An
Introduction to the Philosophy of History
(London, 1951).
M. de Wulf, History of Medieval Philosophy, 3rd ed., trans.
P. Coffey (London, 1935-38).


[See also Axiomatization; Baconianism; Chance; Cycles;
Determinism; Free Will; Hegelian...; Metaphor in Phi-
losophy; Nationalism; Newton on Method; Organicism;
Platonism; Positivism; Progress; Romanticism.]