R. G. Collingwood's Critique of Spengler's Theory of Historical Cycles


  • Dana ŢABREA Al.I. Cuza University of Iasi Department of Philosophy Bd. Carol I, 11, 700506 Iasi, Romania


Oswald Spengler, historical cycles, historical knowledge, historical evidence, historical interpretation


In his 1927 review to Oswald Spengler's book, The Decline of the West, Collingwood formulates several accusations against Spengler erroneous way of understanding history. Among these, Collingwood reproaches on Spengler's philosophy of history not having got the correct orientation, as he reduces history to a plurality of different cultures, each with its own specific essence. It is a good point. My aim is to show how Spengler’s theory of historical cycles is part of a larger obsession with universal history. History is but the development of successive phases that have neither a progressive nor a descendant sense.

Author Biography

Dana ŢABREA, Al.I. Cuza University of Iasi Department of Philosophy Bd. Carol I, 11, 700506 Iasi, Romania

PhD Philosophy, "Al. I. Cuza" University Iaşi. Interested in metaphysics and
hermeneutics, practical philosophy, applied ethics. Postdoctoral researcher in


Collingwood, R. G., The Idea of History (1946), Oxford University Press, Oxford şi New York, 1994, revised with an introduction by Jan Van Der Dussen.

Collingwood, R. G., "Lectures on the Philosophy of History" (1926), "The Idea of a Philosophy of Something and, in particular, a Philosophy of History" (1927), "Outlines of a Philosophy of History" (1928), "The Historical Imagination" (1935), "History as Re-enactment of Past Experience" (1936), "Human Nature and Human History" (1936), "The Subject-Matter of History" (1936), "Historical Evidence" (1939), essays and studies included in the above revised edition of The Idea of History.

Collingwood, R. G., Essays in the Philosophy of History, edited with an introduction by William Debbins, University of Texas Press, 1965. Among the cited essays and studies: "Oswald Spengler and the Theory of Historical Cycles", "The Theory of Historical Cycles", "The Philosophy of History".