Who is Oswald Spengler?June 26, 2021
Oswald Spengler. 1880-1936. German philosopher of history. Spengler, who compared history to a blind game of nature and argued that it is a futile effort to search for a purpose in history, tried to explain the morphology of world history according to philosophical and by the way biological principles.
According to Spengler, cultures are born, develop and die indiscriminately. According to him, 8 types of cultural circles can be distinguished in the entire history of the world. Spengler, who distinguished three stages of development as 1. Metaphysical-religious high cultures, 2. Symbolist early cultures, 3. Civil-late cultures, in 8 cultural circles that he determined as Egypt, Babylon, India, China, Antiquity, Arab, Western and Mexican, He argued that Western culture, which he defined as “civil-late culture”, was in a state of collapse.
The First World War greatly influenced Spengler’s views and gave direction to them. It is obvious that the two world wars experienced gave birth to a traumatic fatalism, circularity and belief in the repetition of history on Spengler’s views. The same trait is seen in Arnold Toynbee. Later, with changing times and understanding, his works were harshly criticized, especially by William McNeill.
Spengler; He classified the emergence of civilizations according to the developmental periods of human beings. Society emerged in childhood. Religion begins to show itself in this period. Youth period passes under the dominance of the mind. The maturity period is the period when intellectuality is at a high level, and art, philosophy and science are at their peak. In old age, all values tend to crumble; This period is inevitably a harbinger of collapse.
Instead of causality in the events of history, it has been based on destiny. According to him, fate determines the whole aspect of history.
He is one of the important men of the critical philosophy of history. It treats history not as a legislative natural science, but as a descriptive and living science.