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{theory, work, human}
{church, century, christian}
{god, call, give}
{area, part, region}
{school, student, university}
{day, year, event}

Historicism is a mode of thinking in which the basic significance of specific social context—e.g., time, place, local conditions—is central; whereas the notion of fundamental generalizable immutable laws in the realm of sociology or social behavior tends to be rejected.

The term has developed different and divergent, though loosely related, meanings. Elements of historicism appear in the writings of Italian philosopher G. B. Vico and French essayist Michel de Montaigne, and became fully developed with the dialectic of G. W. F. Hegel, influential in 19th-century Europe. The writings of Karl Marx, influenced by Hegel, also contain historicism. The term is also associated with the empirical social sciences and the work of Franz Boas.

Historicism may be contrasted with reductionist theories, which suppose that all developments can be explained by fundamental principles (such as in economic determinism), or theories that posit historical changes as result of random chance.

The Austrian-English philosopher Karl Popper attacked historicism along with the determinism and holism which he argued were at its root. Also Talcott Parsons criticized historicism as a case of idealistic fallacy in The Structure of Social Action (1937).

Post-structuralism uses the term New Historicism, which has some connections to both anthropology and Hegelianism.

The theological use of the word denotes the interpretation of biblical prophecy as being related to church history.



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