The philosophy of history has two broad aims. The first looks at the totality of past human action and attempts to explain how history has evolved overall. This is called speculative philosophy of history. It is represented by thinkers like Kant, Hegel, Marx, Spengler and Toynbee, each of whom looked for a pattern, direction, and meaning in history. The second aim of the philosophy of history examines how history is written and attempts to understand what it means to explain something historically. This is called critical philosophy of history. It is represented by thinkers like Dilthey, Collingwood, Hempel, Nowell-Smith and Dray. This seminar will examine the theories of both speculative and critical philosophers of history, arguing that ultimately the speculative/critical distinction breaks down. Speculative theories of history commit one to a particular way of writing history because they require identifying what is important to record for history. And, critical theories about history commit one to speculative theories about how historical knowledge is possible. As a case study we will look at the history of philosophy, which is both speculative and critical. It has a unique place in intellectual history because it is self-reflexive: being both history and philosophy. Join Terry for an in depth look at the two most important areas of intellectual investigation in Western thought: history and philosophy. No prior background in either discipline required.
Terry Goode received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Wayne State University. He has taught philosophy at the University of South Carolina, UW-Fox Valley, and UW-Oshkosh. In his retirement he regularly teaches philosophy for the Clearing in their winter program and for Björklunden in their summer program. Prior to his retirement in 2007 he owned and managed two technology companies; and was a senior technology officer and served as an information technology consultant to a number of firms in the Fox River Valley. Terry and his wife Pam are active volunteers in many Door County organizations.