Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 52, 2018

Philosophy of History

Kurtul Gülenç
Pages 17-23

An Essay on the Possibility of a New Conception of History

The notion or narrative of “progress” fed with the belief that the history has a reason or an aim has from the very beginning been one of the main constituents of the Enlightenment idea or process which represents ‘the attempt to make known what is mythic’. The main argument of this narrative that was supported with the statements especially in the 18th and 19th centuries tells us that the ‘humanity’ progress, or advance, into a world where a design of a wider scale of equity, justice and freedom will dominate. Functioning sometimes politically/economically and sometimes philosophically/culturally, this narrative has been intensely criticised in academic and intellectual circles today. It can be claimed that, in this process, the reliance on the notion of progress and a historiography based on this notion has been shaken. Among the reasons for the disintegration of modernist progress narrative are the developments that the belief in the Enlightenment project has come completely under question especially after the social disasters encountered in the 20th century, that almost all the constitutive narratives of the modernism ghost have been undermined and invalidated, that the concepts of universality, justice, equity, peace etc. have been discredited after the liberal and democratic systems have transformed, in one sense, with the transition from the organised capitalism into the disorganised capitalism or from the national capital movements into global capital movements, that socialist ideals have been defeated with the fall of real-communist systems and etc. The question which the theoretical extensions of these developments that moved existing political perspectives posed after their attempt for the deconstruction activity about the progress narrative is: “While the view that we haven’t developed a new approach that could take the place of the notion or narrative of progress still exists pretty obviously, what kind of historical consciousness do we need for the realization of a political and philosophical analysis on the ‘present’? How and on which platforms can the possibilities of this new consciousness which could allow the construction of the actuality that could feed a design or utopia about the future? Or is it that today’s consciousness only tells us, as Adorno stressed, that we are in a social reality that will not be able to produce positive utopias? In the study, an answer will be sought to these questions and it will be investigated whether in our time when ‘the progress’ narrative has died away leaving with a peck of anxiety, anger and hopelessness behind, new political and epistemological initiations which could be formed as a result of the disintegration of this ground are possible or not.