2.10 History and Culture

Category: Social and Political

Keywords: historian, historians, hegel, historical, cultures, civilization, western, culture, dialectical, cultural, dialectic, history, myth, revolution, german

Number of Articles: 342
Percentage of Total: 1.1%
Rank: 42nd

Weighted Number of Articles: 280.8
Percentage of Total: 0.9%
Rank: 55th

Mean Publication Year: 1955.8
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1956
Median Publication Year: 1954
Modal Publication Year: 1949

Topic with Most Overlap: Life and Value (0.0515)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: Other History (0.0324)
Topic with Least Overlap: Formal Epistemology (0.00021)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Sets and Grue (0.00044)

A scatterplot showing which proportion of articles each year are in the history and culturetopic. The x-axis shows the year, the y-axis measures the proportion of articles each year in this topic. There is one dot per year. The highest value is in 1943 when 3.7% of articles were in this topic. The lowest value is in 1887 when 0.1% of articles were in this topic. The full table that provides the data for this graph is available in Table A.10 in Appendix A.

Figure 2.31: History and culture.

A set of twelve scatterplots showing the proportion of articles in each journal in each year that are in the History and Culturetopic. There is one scatterplot for each of the twelve journals that are the focus of this book. In each scatterplot, the x-axis is the year, and the y-axis is the proportion of articles in that year in that journal in this topic. Here are the average values for each of the twelve scatterplots - these tell you on average how much of the journal is dedicated to this topic. Mind - 0.5%. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society - 0.5%. Ethics - 2.1%. Philosophical Review - 0.8%. Analysis - 0.2%. Philosophy and Public Affairs - 0.8%. Journal of Philosophy - 1.1%. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research - 2.0%. Philosophy of Science - 1.0%. Noûs - 0.2%. The Philosophical Quarterly - 0.7%. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science - 0.4%. The topic reaches its zenith in year 1943 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 3.5% of the articles. And it hits a minimum in year 1887 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 0.1% of the articles.

Figure 2.32: History and culture articles in each journal.

Table 2.28: Characteristic articles of the history and culture topic.


This is a topic that I find quite interesting but which has largely vanished from contemporary philosophy. Arthur Hatto’s paper on revolutions (1949) was one of the papers I was most pleased about finding from doing this project, but it’s something it’s hard to imagine getting published in the last fifty years.

The topic is largely philosophy of history, with quite a bit of attention paid to Collingwood and Toynbee. But there is also work at the intersection between philosophy and sociology and, more generally, work discussing culture. There is a smattering of work here that would be called history of philosophy, such as the paper seen above on Vico, but there is much more work about history as a discipline than history of philosophy.

There are also a handful of papers on the philosophical significance of various political figures, such as Jefferson, Lenin, or Roosevelt. Analytical political philosophy has something of an aversion to dealing with figures who were politically influential in their own time. Even when studying such figures, there is tendency to steer away from the works that actually made them influential. There are ongoing attempts to make Anglophone political philosophers take Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. more seriously. If those attempts succeed, they will not just increase the racial diversity of who gets studied but also introduce figures who were seriously influential in their own lifetime.