There are two views of the theories of the philosophies of history, the idealistic and the materialistic. St. Augustine, Thomas Carlyle, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, the Whig Interpretation explained by H. Butterfield, the World System Analysis explained by Immanuel Wallerstein, and the Annales School all express these different philosophies of history. Some express idealistic views like Augustine, Carlyle, Hegel, and The Whigs (Butterfield), and others the materialistic view like Marx, Wallerstein, and the Annales School (Braudel). All these views are also split into two categories, cyclical and linear. Cyclical meaning that they progress in a circle, starting and ending at the same point or theme and linear in their progression, they are all moving toward an end point. St. Augustine’s view philosophical view of history is very idealistic in nature. It is split between what he describes as the City of God and the City of Man. He breaks it down into five parts: first, beyond all history and beyond time is God who exists timelessly. God encompasses everything. Second, the realm of temporal things, the realm of history, this is where history has a beginning or is created. According to Augustine this gives history an age, but he says it will go on indefinitely. Third, within history there is human history, which introduces human free will. Fourth, he writes is within human history there is the changing life of fallen humanity, which is surrounded by life in paradise and fifth, God enters history, opening a path for humans to leave their misery and enter a new life with God (paradise). Augustine does not subdivide history into holy or secular history; he just sees the holy history as the main part of history and the rest, human history, as insignificant. Augustine’s theory of history is cyclical in that his view begins and ends with God. God begins history and ends history, there is just no timeline on when this can happen. Another idealist is Thomas Carlyle who’s Great...
Cited: Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History (New York: W.W. Norton, 1965), 1-63.
Immanuel Wallerstein, World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), 1-41.
Louise Merwin Young, Thomas Carlyle and the Art of History (New York: Octagon Books), 54-92.
M.C. Lemon, Philosophy of History (New York, 2003), chapter 9, 10
Saint Augustine, On the Two Cities: Selections from The City of God, ed. F.W. Strothman (New York: Continuum, 1988), 64-99.
Stuart Clark, “The Annales Historians,” in Quentin Skinner, ed., The Return of Grand Theory in the Human Sciences (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 177-98; Fernand Braudel, On History, trans. Sarah Matthews (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), 25-54.
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