Abstract and Keywords
Until recently, a historical approach to philosophy has been very unusual in the English-speaking world, although it is one of continental philosophy's (in particular, German philosophy's) most marked features. The purpose of this article is to outline the origins of the idea that history can enter into the method of philosophy, while at the same time to analyse the forms that the idea has taken — and might take — in practice. This article focuses on the four thinkers who were most influential in developing the historical conceptions of philosophy that are found in the continental tradition, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, before evaluating what this might mean for the practice of philosophy and discussing their legacy. The historical approach to philosophy has been used in some of the most important and interesting philosophical writings in English of the last twenty-five years, particularly in moral and political philosophy.
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