Philosophy and History

Part of the Modern Introductions to Philosophy book series (MIP)


(i) It would be absurd to attempt a definitive account of philosophy of history in the first chapter: it is, after all, the subject of the whole book. Very little can be conveyed about philosophy by explicit statements, practically nothing by a few short ones at the outset. As Kant pointed out, the place for definitions is the end not the beginning of philosophy books. Even in their proper place they are rarely intelligible by themselves in isolation from everything that has led up to them. All the same, in spite of such fully justified reservations, there is still a case for some preliminary characterisation of what we shall be concerned with, an account which might fix the starting point and indicate the nature of the expedition even though it cannot fully determine the route to be followed. Everything that can be said at this early stage has to be regarded as open to revision and qualification in the light of what will come later.


Subject Matter Natural Science Moral Judgement Intellectual History Present Concern 
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© R. F. Atkinson 1978

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