The Course of History: Substantive Philosophy of History and the Scientific Study of History Explained

14 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2018

Date Written: March 18, 2018

Abstract

The ultimate cause of much historical, social and cultural change is the gradual accumulation of human knowledge of the environment. Human beings use the materials in their environment to meet their needs and increased human knowledge of the environment enables human needs to be met in a more efficient manner. The human environment has a particular structure so that human knowledge of the environment is acquired in a particular order. The simplest knowledge is acquired first and more complex knowledge is acquired later. The order of discovery determines the course of human social and cultural history as knowledge of new and more efficient means of meeting human needs, results in new technology, which results in the development of new social and ideological systems. This means human social and cultural history, has to follow a particular course, a course that is determined by the structure of the human environment. Given that a certain level of knowledge will result in a particular type of society, it is possible to ascertain the types of societies that were inevitable in human history. The course of history is not random and can be rationally and scientifically understood.

Keywords: How Change Happens, course of history, philosophy of history, speculative philosophy of history, substantive philosophy of history, scientific study of history, science and history, social change, cultural evolution, macrosociology, multiples, Robert Merton, William Ogburn, technological determinism

Suggested Citation

Forrester, Rochelle, The Course of History: Substantive Philosophy of History and the Scientific Study of History Explained (March 18, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3143234 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3143234

Rochelle Forrester (Contact Author)

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