Historical Justice or the Dusk of the West? Messianism and Catastrophism in the Inter-War Philosophical Thought


A quarter-century ago F. Fukuyama announced the end of history, understood in Hegelian terms as a process of a realization of the consciousness of freedom. His statement was immediately met with criticism ( with the harshest one coming from S. P Huntington), stating that further course of history, understood as a process of conflicts between civilizations, is inevitable and it does not bode well for the West (the post-Roman civilization). Many events that took place in the last 20 years indicate that it was Huntigton and like-minded philosophers who were right. From a today's perspective it is worth looking at philosophical concepts born in the inter-war period. Those concepts were an attempt to conceptualize history after the calamities that took place in the beginning of that century (especially the World War I- at the time called the World War- and the Bolshevik revolution, that nearly spread to the whole of Europe). Rather natural philosophical reaction to that were concepts representing various types of catastrophism, based on the thesis of the fragility of the Western civilization (O. Spengler, A. Toynbee and, in Poland, F. Koneczny). At the same time philosophical concepts alluding to philosophical messianism came into the picture (I'm overlooking the communist ideology, which had its theoretical roots in the Marxist historical materialism) portending imminent fulfillment of history (W. Benjamin, W. Lutos�_awski).

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Marek Jakubowski, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2016
Stream: Philosophy - Philosophy and Culture

This paper is part of the ACERP2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon