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(1) Civilisation or Civilisations: an Essay in the Spenglerian Philosophy of History (2) Sunrise in the West: a Modern Interpretation of Past and Present

    Naturevolume 120page42 (1927) | Download Citation

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    (1) IN a preface to “Civilisation or Civilisations,” Dr. F. C. S. Schiller, with a characteristic and mildly cynical humour, discusses the reasons for teaching history and briefly expounds the philosophy of that subject as an attempt to formulate a ‘law.’ The book itself is intended to familiarise English readers with the ideas of Spengler's book, “Der Untergang des Abendlandes,” in which the belief in progress was challenged. Holding that civilisation does not show any steady arithmetical progression, Spengler propounds a ‘law of civilisations’ to account for their rise and fall. Human achievements are divided into nine groups or eras, each constituting a distinct civilisation capable of high achievement in art, in science, in thought, in religion, and in social organisation. Each of these passes through a course of progress covering about 1400 years, after which the society ceases to be artistic, social, or scientific in any but the crudest sense. Western civilisation, beginning about A.D. 900, is expected to come to an end about A.D. 2300. It will be seen that this theory of history involves a return to the schematisation of progress, and indeed the authors will have nothing to do with the archaeologist who traces cultural phenomena back to their origins or with the diffusionist and his migrations of culture from an original centre in Egypt. Either school may perhaps be content to await the verdict of the facts-when we know them.

    (1) Civilisation or Civilisations: an Essay in the Spenglerian Philosophy of History.

    By E. H. Goddard P. A. Gibbons. Pp. xvi + 231 (London: Constable and C., Ltd., 1926.) 7s. 6d. net.

    (2) Sunrise in the West: a Modern Interpretation of Past and Present.

    By Adrian Stokes. Pp. xvi + 168. (London: Kegan Paul and Co., Ltd., n.d.) 7s. 6d. net.

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    https://doi.org/10.1038/120042a0

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