Chapter

Decline

Gordon Graham

in The Shape of the Past

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780192892553
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670619 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192892553.003.0004

Series: OPUS

Decline

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The concept of decline has been a constant in the historical thinking of all societies. This chapter discusses this concept, the possible socio-psychological reasons for this concept, and the implications for the understanding of history. Though a belief in a Golden Age is often caused by and sustained by pessimism or nostalgia, it does not follow that there is no truth in such beliefs. The chapter presents some secular counterparts which also harbor same nostalgia for a remote past when everything was perfect. It is also not necessary to believe that the past was a period of absolute perfection in order to hold that the present is in important ways a period of decline.

Keywords: decline; history; Golden Age; nostalgia; pessimism

Chapter.  9493 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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