History and Theory 18 (1):16-36 (1979)

"Growth," a term borrowed from biology, is often used to describe change in human history. The use of such terms, however, tends to obscure the fundamental differences between historical and natural causality. Vico and Herder were among the first to make a radical distinction between our understanding of events in nature and of those in human affairs. They argued that man can make conscious decisions which make his actions different from events in the nonhuman world. Yet, they also believed that human history has a purpose of its own, which man cannot alter. However, if human choice is to be truly free, then the outcome of human history cannot be entirely predetermined. Though Vico and Herder, like many other writers, attempted to merge these two notions, they failed to provide a satisfactory theory
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DOI 10.2307/2504669
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