Universal History and the Emergence of Species Being

Abstract

This paper seeks to recover the function of universal history, which was to place particulars into relation with universals. By the 20th century universal history was largely discredited because of an idealism that served to lend epistemic coherence to the overwhelming complexity arising from universal history's comprehensive scope. Idealism also attempted to account for history's being "open"--for the human ability to transcend circumstance. The paper attempts to recover these virtues without the idealism by defining universal history not by its scope but rather as a scientific method that provides an understanding of any kind of historical process, be it physical, biological or human. While this method is not new, it is in need of a development that offers a more robust historiography and warrant as a liberating historical consciousness. The first section constructs an ontology of process by defining matter as ontic probabilities rather than as closed entities. This is lent warrant in the next section through an appeal to contemporary physical science. The resulting conceptual frame and method is applied to the physical domain of existents, to the biological domain of social being and finally to the human domain of species being. It is then used to account for the emergence of human history's initial stage--the Archaic Socio-Economic Formation and for history' stadial trajectory--its alternation of evolution and revolution.

Author's Profile

Haines Brown
Michigan State University (PhD)

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