Historism, What is Historicism?

Historism, What is Historicism?

June 29, 2021 Off By Felso

Historism or historicism is the current of thought that emerged in the middle of the 19th century, especially in Germany, during the independent development of historical sciences. Historism or historicism, the tendency to prioritize history in the explanation of events; historical thinking.


Historism is a way of thinking that tries to understand all events, achievements and values ​​from the historical situations and historical conditions in which they were born, and believes that the objective content and present meaning of these events can only be explained in this retrospect.

Historism or Historicism is a line of philosophical thinking that sees the essence of human existence in its historicity, understands historicity as the living basis of human life, and thus comprehends the world as history. This trend is particularly relevant in Dilthey, York v. It appears in Wartenburg and existential philosophy and reaches its climax in the historical school.

The history of historiography is to study for itself only; It also means sacrificing the present for the sake of arbitrarily reviving past values ​​by giving too much importance to history education. It is a state of excess of historical culture and scholarship, paralyzing life and action.

Historism also means that history is valued as it is in principle or that the facts of history are absolute as immutable authorities.


According to historiism, Man and all human individuals – everyone and every “me” – are made up of things created by history.

So how? As its history demands. If I have these features, it is because of the history that goes on from my past to eternity. History of Iran, Islam and Shiism; intertwined, knitted and woven with each other, formed my past history, and has survived until this century. I, who was born at the end of this history, grew up and developed, have all the characteristics that my history has given me. If I were now at the end of the history of Iran and Islam, instead of at the end of the Great French Revolution, the Renaissance, the Middle Ages, or the history of the Western world today, I would have another language, different thoughts and feelings, different morals and departures. So, this “I” and that “I” have become two different people because they have two separate histories. In this case, again, my features are out of my hands and submitted to the will of history, in the way that history is the main determinant.

Well, how do I choose in such a case? As I want it? No, as history has chosen about me. Now I speak Persian, and you listen and understand Persian as our language of conversation and agreement. Neither you nor I chose Persian. Our history gave us this language; when we opened our eyes, we accepted this language as a historical determination and necessity; We speak this language, we could not refuse it. Even though we accepted and adopted Islam, we did not choose it, history chose it, we did not contribute to this election.

We are born, grow up and mature in an environment chosen by history and regulated conditions. Just as nature gives the color of our skin and we do not choose it, so does the color of our soul, and we do not choose it.


The concept of historicism was used for the first time in a book on Christian teachings. It is only after the 1940s that it is seen as separate from “historicism” in dictionaries. Historicism is often confused with “historicism”. Historiography is a view that looks at events from a historical perspective, evaluates the facts according to their historical positions, periods and stages, and has a significant relativism element. Historiography is interpreting a person living in history within the framework of the social relations network of that day. However, historicism is a much more complex concept that has recently merged with the name of Popper.

Historicism is a much more complex concept that has recently merged with the name of Popper.

Popper has defined historicism in many places and in various forms. As a person who believes that all the meanings of a concept cannot be captured in a single definition, Popper has always doubted the “completeness” of the definitions. For this reason, he avoided giving a single definition for historicism. On the other hand, at the beginning of his “Open Society and Its Enemies”, he gathered the common features of historicist theories in the following “main historicist doctrine”: “The doctrine that history is governed by certain historical or evolutionary laws, and by discovering them we can prophesy about human destiny”.

So historicism is here based on two main ideas:

To prophesy about the course of history,
To make a policy in accordance with the results of these prophecies.

In various places, Popper accepted these two main historicist views as fundamental, calling the first “theoretical historicism” and the second “activist historicism”. Although both are inextricably linked, they can be treated methodically in this way separately.