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Philosophy of History

The term "philosophy of history" probably covers a larger variety of endeavors than similar terms such as "philosophy of law" or "philosophy of science." It is hard to bring under one definition the many philosophical questions and responses that are concerned with history. One reason for this, which has long been acknowledged, is that the English term "history," like its cognates in many Western languages (histoire, Geschichte), is normally used to refer to two distinct, though related, things. On the one hand it refers to the temporal progression of large-scale human events, primarily but not exclusively in the past; on the other hand, "history" refers to the discipline or inquiry in which knowledge of the human past is acquired or sought. Thus "philosophy of history" can mean philosophical reflection on the historical...

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Philosophy of History from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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