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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 12, 2007

Philosophical Trends in the XXth Century

Leonid Grinin
Pages 169-173

Once More on the Question of the Role of Personality in History

In order for the philosophy of history to be a really necessary methodological science in relation to theoretical and epistemological problems of history, it is quite necessary to get away from the practice of general discourse and from attempts to find universal solutions suitable for all times. On the contrary, it is desirable to focus on a search for principles and for methods of applying them to the problems of different levels, which, by no means predetermining the results of concrete research, would play the role of (a) a convenient and capacious form of concentration of materials; (b) an effective tool of cognition; and (c) a "compass" preserving a scientists efforts in search of a true solution. For this it is necessary while building up theories, first, to try to combine distinct partially true approaches; secondly, to define clearly the boundaries of applicability of arguments; and thirdly, to formulate laws not in the form of absolute conclusions but according to the rules admitted in other sciences. The possibility of realizing these goals is illustrated by the example of the present theme, "on the role of personality in history," wherein the author introduces the notion of a "factor of a situation," which makes it possible to unify various points correlating personality roles and diverse states of society, and gives the typology of "roles," personalities, etc.

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