Gordon Graham

in The Shape of the Past

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780192892553
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670619 | DOI:

Series: OPUS


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  • History of Western Philosophy


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According to the philosopher Lurcretius, ‘Some races wax and other wane’. The history of the world, at any one point in its past, has seen remarkable civilizations of which there is hardly any trace left now. The 18th-century philosophers of history J. G. Herder's views on historical recurrence are also discussed in this chapter. According to him historical discontinuity means that it is inappropriate for one culture to pass judgment on another. The belief that the past consists of discrete cultural episodes does not exclude the possibility that these episodes have a common structure. The conception explored in this chapter is sometimes referred to as historical cycles.

Keywords: recurrence; Lurcretius; civilizations; J. G. Herder; historical discontinuity; cultural episodes

Chapter.  8446 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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