The third section, where I left off, is on the philosophy of history.
I have been struggling to even begin to think about the philosophy of history.
But tonight I have written a page or two and I have been able to parse the philosophy of history into several different questions. By clarifying the questions posed by the discipline I am hoping to understand how those questions will help me with my questions.
I've decided that there are at least four different problems in philosophy of history.
One question regards the proper object of history: what is it that historians study? Is it events? Is it actions? Is it thought? Another regards the proper purpose of historical study: do we study the past because it is valuable in its own right? Do we study it to understand ourselves? Do we study it to make better political decision? Do we study it to help us create ourselves? Another question regards the epistemological foundations of historical study: how do we know what we know about history? And finally, I’ll say that another regards the meaning of history: when we study history do we see the linear development of rationality? Do we see the movement of cycles? Do we see human nature being played out? Or do we see a process by which human beings create themselves?
That is what I wrote tonight.
I'm undoubtedly treading on well-worn territory. Other people have wondered about these things. But now I need to keep wondering about history.