Chapter

History

Stephen R.L. Clark

in Aristotle's Man

Published in print May 1975 | ISBN: 9780198245162
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680847 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245162.003.0009
History

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This chapter discusses Aristotle's views on history. The study of history can never be fully scientific, for it can never be rid of the accidental. The course of history runs in cycles, but not exactly repeating ones, nor can it be fully predicted. Political history involves the development and decay of organic wholes, in which economic relationships are to be understood as properly embedded in the life of the community. Historical study is important, but there are better things to contemplate than man. It is hoped to emphasize the importance of the judgement of the experienced man in descrying what is happening or has happened, to hint at a certain emotional detachment from the course of events as a consequence of Aristotle's historical model, and to add somewhat to earlier defence of his organic view of the state. Aristotle's view of history reveals on the one hand his practical concerns, enshrined in the concept of the reasonable man of experience, and on the other a slight detachment from the course of history – where there is no end of time one's expectations are inevitably slightly detached from the millennial future, for that too will pass.

Keywords: Aristotle; political history; historical study; historical model; organic wholes; judgement

Chapter.  6805 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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