Historicism

related topics
{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.

Contents

Variants

Full article ▸

related documents
Problem of universals
Anthroposophy
Sociology of knowledge
John Searle
Baruch Spinoza
George Lakoff
Cosmological argument
Omnipotence paradox
Rudolf Steiner
Pseudoscience
Post-structuralism
Evaluation
An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding
Dualism
Peter Singer
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Homo economicus
Kitsch
Reductionism
Interdisciplinarity
Parapsychology
Carl Rogers
Clairvoyance
Faith and rationality
Jean-Paul Sartre
Michel Foucault
Objectivity (philosophy)
Concept
Stephen Jay Gould
Philosophy of education