1035 MAKING SENSE OF HISTORY: PERSPECTIVES IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY
Professor Anton Albert van Niekerk, Philosophy Department, Stellenbosch University
This course will introduce the often neglected discipline, the philosophy of history. Key terms will be clarified, including ‘philosophy’, ‘history’, ‘historical explanation’, ‘science’, ‘objectivity’ and ‘causality’. A distinction will be made between ‘critical’ and ‘speculative’ philosophy of history. Critical philosophy of history, discussed in the first lecture, represents the effort to assess the knowledge status of historiography. It asks: Can written history be regarded as a form of scientific knowledge? The second lecture will focus on a critical assessment of the (nowadays mostly discredited) notion of a ‘speculative philosophy of history’, which is the effort to identify the ‘key driver(s)’ or central motives and forces that are allegedly operative in the unfolding of history. Special attention will be paid to the contribution of G.F.W Hegel’s metaphysical idea of history as driven by a rationally and dialectically directed pursuit of freedom.
1. Critical philosophy of history
2. Speculative philosophy of history
Dray, W.H. 1964. Philosophy of History. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
Gadamer, H-G. 1975. Truth and Method. London: Sheed & Ward.
Stanford, M. 1998. An Introduction to the Philosophy of History. Oxford: Blackwell.
Walsh, W.H. 1964. An Introduction to Philosophy of History. London: Hutchinson.