History Department - Courses


Teaching Staff: Vaki Fotini
Course Code: ΙΦΙ101
Course Type: Compulsory
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: Greek
Semester: 8

Short Description:

The aim of the course is the analysis and critical approach to various theories of the philosophy of history from Antiquity to the present. The course will start from the cyclic theory of historical time throughout Antiquity and its revival by Machiavelli (in the beginning of the 16th century). In turn, it will be concerned with the “spiral” account of time in G. Vico in his work, The New Science. Theories of history in the French Enlightenment will be also examined, mainly in the works of Condorcet and Turgot, as well as the philosophy of history in I. Kant, as it has been developed in his essay, “Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose.” The course will also refer to the teleological conception of history in Hegel and the materialist account of history in the work of Marx, in particular, in The German Ideology. Finally, contemporary theories calling into question the idea of progress will be mentioned, such as those by Nietzsche and Spengler, as well as the theory of the end of history, developed by Fukuyama.

Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

By the successful completion of the course the student will be able to understand and analyze:

  • The various theories of the philosophy of history from Antiquity to the present.
  • The historical context within which the above take shape and the historiography schools to which they give rise to.


Week 1 # The concept of history in Herodotus and Thucydides

Week 2 # The theological interpretation of historical time: Augustine and Bossuet

Week 3 # N. Machiavelli: Virtue and fortune

Week 4 # The New Science by G. Vico

Week 5 # The idea of progress in Enlightenment: Condorcet and Turgot

Week 6-7 # The “heterogeneity of ends”: From Mandeville’s The Fable of the bees to Smith’s “invisible hand.”

Week 8 # The conjectural history in the Scottish Enlightenment

Week 9 # Kant’s philosophy of history

Week 10 # Dialectic and teleology in Hegel’s work

Week 11 # Marx’ s materialist theory of history

Week 12 # Questioning the idea of progress: Nietzsche and Spengler

Week 13 # Theories of the end of history

Suggested Bibliography:

Carr, H.E., What is history, New York, Random House, 1961

Chrysis, A., Philosophy of history: Introductory approaches, Athens, Kritiki, 2004 (in Greek).

Lowith, K., Meaning in history, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 1949

Vaki, F., Progress in Enlightenment: Faces and facets, Athens, Eurasia, 2012   (in Greek)

Walsh, H. W., An introduction to philosophy of history, London, Praeger, 1984

Teaching Methods:


Evaluation Methods:

Written exams

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