History and historicism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

History occupies a singular position among the modern social sciences. It was the first to assume a durable professional shape. The basic canons for modern academic historiography were introduced in Germany early in the nineteenth century. By that century’s end, the model of Barthold-Georg Niebuhr and Leopold von Ranke had been widely imitated across western Europe and the United States, establishing the permanent institutional mold of the discipline. The special place of history among the social sciences involves more than mere precedence, however. For historiography was accompanied in its passage toward science by an enabling philosophy of history - or a set of such philosophies - that claimed a unique privilege for historical explanation and understanding, with consequences for the entire range of the social sciences. It was only early in the twentieth century that these philosophies or ideologies of history were first gathered together, retrospectively, under a single rubric, that of “historicism.” Although the term was a century old, its release into wider circulation really began with Ernst Troeltsch, who used it, in the years following the First World War, to describe what he saw as the dominant outlook of the preceding century, which had emphasized the decisive place of change and development in the human realm. Contrasting it with Naturalismus, the outlook of the natural sciences, Troeltsch declared Historismus to be in “crisis,” having issued into antiscientific skepticism and relativism. A decade later, Friedrich Meinecke gave the term a slightly different inflection. Tracing its origins to Johann Gottfried von Herder and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Meinecke saw their stress on the concrete, the unique, and the individual as the core of historicism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Science: The Modern Social Sciences
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages113-130
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781139053556, 0521594421, 9780521594424
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

Fingerprint

Social Sciences
Historicism
History
Ernst Troeltsch
Historiography
Philosophy
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
World War I
Skepticism
Natural Science
Philosophy of History
Canon
Inflection
Historical Explanation
Ideology
Germany
Relativism
Johann Gottfried Herder
Privilege

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Wright, J. (2003). History and historicism. In The Cambridge History of Science: The Modern Social Sciences (pp. 113-130). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521594424.009

History and historicism. / Wright, Johnson.

The Cambridge History of Science: The Modern Social Sciences. Cambridge University Press, 2003. p. 113-130.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Wright, J 2003, History and historicism. in The Cambridge History of Science: The Modern Social Sciences. Cambridge University Press, pp. 113-130. https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521594424.009
Wright J. History and historicism. In The Cambridge History of Science: The Modern Social Sciences. Cambridge University Press. 2003. p. 113-130 https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521594424.009
Wright, Johnson. / History and historicism. The Cambridge History of Science: The Modern Social Sciences. Cambridge University Press, 2003. pp. 113-130
@inbook{5e12606870bc48639527406507cdc0cb,
title = "History and historicism",
abstract = "History occupies a singular position among the modern social sciences. It was the first to assume a durable professional shape. The basic canons for modern academic historiography were introduced in Germany early in the nineteenth century. By that century’s end, the model of Barthold-Georg Niebuhr and Leopold von Ranke had been widely imitated across western Europe and the United States, establishing the permanent institutional mold of the discipline. The special place of history among the social sciences involves more than mere precedence, however. For historiography was accompanied in its passage toward science by an enabling philosophy of history - or a set of such philosophies - that claimed a unique privilege for historical explanation and understanding, with consequences for the entire range of the social sciences. It was only early in the twentieth century that these philosophies or ideologies of history were first gathered together, retrospectively, under a single rubric, that of “historicism.” Although the term was a century old, its release into wider circulation really began with Ernst Troeltsch, who used it, in the years following the First World War, to describe what he saw as the dominant outlook of the preceding century, which had emphasized the decisive place of change and development in the human realm. Contrasting it with Naturalismus, the outlook of the natural sciences, Troeltsch declared Historismus to be in “crisis,” having issued into antiscientific skepticism and relativism. A decade later, Friedrich Meinecke gave the term a slightly different inflection. Tracing its origins to Johann Gottfried von Herder and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Meinecke saw their stress on the concrete, the unique, and the individual as the core of historicism.",
author = "Johnson Wright",
year = "2003",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1017/CHOL9780521594424.009",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "9781139053556",
pages = "113--130",
booktitle = "The Cambridge History of Science: The Modern Social Sciences",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",

}

TY - CHAP

T1 - History and historicism

AU - Wright, Johnson

PY - 2003/1/1

Y1 - 2003/1/1

N2 - History occupies a singular position among the modern social sciences. It was the first to assume a durable professional shape. The basic canons for modern academic historiography were introduced in Germany early in the nineteenth century. By that century’s end, the model of Barthold-Georg Niebuhr and Leopold von Ranke had been widely imitated across western Europe and the United States, establishing the permanent institutional mold of the discipline. The special place of history among the social sciences involves more than mere precedence, however. For historiography was accompanied in its passage toward science by an enabling philosophy of history - or a set of such philosophies - that claimed a unique privilege for historical explanation and understanding, with consequences for the entire range of the social sciences. It was only early in the twentieth century that these philosophies or ideologies of history were first gathered together, retrospectively, under a single rubric, that of “historicism.” Although the term was a century old, its release into wider circulation really began with Ernst Troeltsch, who used it, in the years following the First World War, to describe what he saw as the dominant outlook of the preceding century, which had emphasized the decisive place of change and development in the human realm. Contrasting it with Naturalismus, the outlook of the natural sciences, Troeltsch declared Historismus to be in “crisis,” having issued into antiscientific skepticism and relativism. A decade later, Friedrich Meinecke gave the term a slightly different inflection. Tracing its origins to Johann Gottfried von Herder and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Meinecke saw their stress on the concrete, the unique, and the individual as the core of historicism.

AB - History occupies a singular position among the modern social sciences. It was the first to assume a durable professional shape. The basic canons for modern academic historiography were introduced in Germany early in the nineteenth century. By that century’s end, the model of Barthold-Georg Niebuhr and Leopold von Ranke had been widely imitated across western Europe and the United States, establishing the permanent institutional mold of the discipline. The special place of history among the social sciences involves more than mere precedence, however. For historiography was accompanied in its passage toward science by an enabling philosophy of history - or a set of such philosophies - that claimed a unique privilege for historical explanation and understanding, with consequences for the entire range of the social sciences. It was only early in the twentieth century that these philosophies or ideologies of history were first gathered together, retrospectively, under a single rubric, that of “historicism.” Although the term was a century old, its release into wider circulation really began with Ernst Troeltsch, who used it, in the years following the First World War, to describe what he saw as the dominant outlook of the preceding century, which had emphasized the decisive place of change and development in the human realm. Contrasting it with Naturalismus, the outlook of the natural sciences, Troeltsch declared Historismus to be in “crisis,” having issued into antiscientific skepticism and relativism. A decade later, Friedrich Meinecke gave the term a slightly different inflection. Tracing its origins to Johann Gottfried von Herder and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Meinecke saw their stress on the concrete, the unique, and the individual as the core of historicism.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33750740435&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=33750740435&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1017/CHOL9780521594424.009

DO - 10.1017/CHOL9780521594424.009

M3 - Chapter

SN - 9781139053556

SN - 0521594421

SN - 9780521594424

SP - 113

EP - 130

BT - The Cambridge History of Science: The Modern Social Sciences

PB - Cambridge University Press

ER -