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While T.S. Eliot never made any comments critical of Charles Darwin or his theory of the evolution of species, he was quite critical of various popularized versions of Darwin’s theory that exaggerated its explanatory power and extrapolated from it into metaphysical, moral, historical, and socio-political spheres where, in his view, it had no authority. Two such popularizers and extrapolators concerned…

Abstract
The release of Samuel P. Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations was the occasion for quite the stir in academic circles. Perhaps more importantly, his ideas of civilizations and the incommensurability of values continues to have outsized influence on the framing of policy debates and public opinion. While initial critiques of his ideas were sharp, they have elided the deep theoretical…

What connections could exist between Big History and the religious perspective? The answer is more than plenty. If Big History is defined as “the attempt to understand, in a unified, interdisciplinary way, the history of the Cosmos, Earth, Life, and Humanity”[1], then the parallels to the concerns of someone like St. Augustine are rather striking. For my purposes, the religious…

In the first half of the nineteenth-century, the question of history – its origins, its continuing burden, and the possibility of transcending it – preoccupied American thinkers, writers, and political leaders. Specifically, the controversy of slavery explicitly raised the question of history to the forefront of the national debate, with the United States’ declaration that all men were created equal…

The study of history is a rigorous intellectual enterprise.  A student researching and writing about the past must sift through multiple pieces of evidence, grasp an event’s larger context, and think logically in order to construct arguments presenting plausible explanations as well as judgments and interpretations.   But history is also an imaginative endeavor as practitioners of the discipline must oftentimes…

The Second Epilogue
Although nearly all have admired Tolstoy’s War and Peace since its publication, critics have been divided over whether the novel has an organizational principle. Some have found it troublesome for its lack of structure, and especially point to the Second Preface which outlines a philosophy of history that distracts from the novel’s artistic achievements.[1] Other critics have claimed…

History, to be precise about the term, is not everything that has ever hap­pened, but the remembered and recorded past, the past judged worthy of reflection and narration. A "history" is a story comprising, not all events, but significant events. The weight of significance is something to be determined by the person trying to make sense of the flow of…

Man is constructed as a function of history in such philosophies of history as those of Comte, Hegel, and Marx, with an apocalyptic present, that is, a present in which all past reality is relegated to a dead past and all present is concentrated in this empirical present in time, loaded with expectations that something meaningful will come out of…