Plaatsbepaling in de tijd: Geschiedfilosofie in Nederland, 1860-1940

Herman Paul*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Temporal orientation. Philosophy of history in the Netherlands, 1860-1940. David Carr recently argued that philosophy of history in the Hegelian tradition was practical in the Kantian sense of that word: it provided temporal, moral, and political orientation by locating present-day experience on a large-scale historical canvas. This article extends Carr's claim by arguing that much the same was true for positivist philosophy of history as practised by Henry Thomas Buckle and Herbert Spencer, for neo-Kantian philosophy of history in the Baden School, and for early twentieth-century debates over Oswald Spengler's The decline of the West (1918-20) and Ernst Troeltsch's Historicism and its problems (1922). Through the prism of the Dutch reception of these philosophies of history, which includes, of course, Dutch contributions to the genre, this article shows that philosophy of history in the decades between 1860 and 1940 was primarily valued for its practical dimension. Even such apparently technical issues as the nature of value-relevance in Heinrich Rickert's understanding of historical interpretation almost invariably served as arguments in debates charged with moral, political, and/or religious implications.

Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)11-31
Number of pages21
JournalTijdschrift voor Geschiedenis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • philosophy of history
  • neo-Kantianism
  • historicism
  • Oswald Spengler
  • Ernst Troeltsch

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