Introduction to the Philosophy of History

Introduction to the Philosophy of History

Spring Semester
Dr. Ori Rotlevy
Office Hours: By appointment


Short description:

Is there an essential connection between the contingent events of history and the eternal truths philosophy seeks? Until the eighteenth century the answer to this question, if it were raised at all, would probably be negative. Yet starting from that period we find a great interest in the relations between the two fields, to the extent that it is hard to think of certain forms of philosophy—particularly those labeled “continental”—without this relation in mind. In this light, the course will examine major issues in the philosophical contemplation of history: the significance of history as a field of moral progress; the strive towards objectivity vs. the subjective character of memory; and history as a political battlefield for the redemption of the past and the liberation of the present. Readings will begin with Immanuel Kant and G. W. F. Hegel, continue with Leopold Von Ranke and Friedrich Nietzsche, and end with Walter Benjamin. The course will also include a tour to Jaffa, in which we will hear two different historical narratives of the city, which will serve as a springboard for a philosophical examination of a concrete struggle over history.



Mid Term: Short paper (2 pages; 15% of final grade)

Final requirement: Final paper (6 pages; 85% of final grade) 



Attendance is mandatory. Students are permitted a maximum of three unexcused absences without penalty. Any additional absences will affect the final grade and may result in failure of the course. Pay attention that the tour to Jaffa – scheduled to 5/5/19 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM – is obligatory. Students who will be unable to attend for justified reasons will be required to hand out a 3 pages paper on the history of certain sites in Jaffa.   


Academic conduct:

Plagiarism is taken extremely seriously. Any instance of academic misconduct which includes: submitting someone else’s work as your own; failure to accurately cite sources; taking words from another source without using quotation marks; submission of work for which you have previously received credit; working in a group for individual assignments; using unauthorized materials in an exam and sharing your work with other students, will result in failure of the assignment and will likely lead to further disciplinary measures.

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