Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy

Subject Categories



College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Elenita Garcia

Defense Panel Chair

Rolando M. Gripaldo

Defense Panel Member

Gansham T. Mansukhani
Florentino T. Timbreza


This paper is intended to be a defense of historical truth. From the earliest days of philosophy of history, which many would say began with Giambattista Vico, the question of how we can validly claim to know the truth of past events has been controversial. Modern history itself grew out of the labors of Biblical and classical scholars to present a true picture of the ancient past. So, as the reader can see, the original pioneers of modern history were at the same time linguists and philologists. History and the philosophy of history which is in effect, historians reflecting on their methods and the truth of their products grew up together. The historians discussed in this paper were philosophers as well. As the title suggests, modern history grew out of a love of ancient sources and the story they told about the distant past. The historians discussed here are all representatives of the modern age. Several were reactionaries: they were opposed to modern developments in various ways and this influenced their view of history which accounts for the shock of the new in the title. The story begins with Vico, who was virtually unknown in his own age. When he was discovered his ideas seemed to mirror modern ideas and he was often mistakenly deemed to be modern because he was ahead of his time. Indeed he was, but in fact his philosophy was opposed to the modern Cartesianism of his day. Herder was an original thinker who was as well opposed to the prevailing modern ideas of his age. He was an inspiration and a guiding spirit in what became the romantic revolution or the Counter-Enlightenment, as it is sometimes called. His contribution to the way we think about the past was enormous. Schliermacher and Dilthey both worked to make history into a respectable contemporary science. They developed the methods of hermeneutics and supported and encouraged the great German historical school which made an immeasurable contribution to the store of western knowledge about the past. Finally, in Martin Heidegger we meet the great Samson of contemporary philosophy who tried to pull down the temple of inherited traditions around his ears. He never got over the shock of the new. It drove his entire philosophical endeavor. However, despite his reactionary thought, he contributed some brilliant ideas to our store of knowledge and human understanding. Some of his best ideas were put to fruitful use by his disciple, Gadamer, who has enriched our understanding of hermeneutics and history. The last part of the paper describes how postmodernist thinkers have called historical truth into question by adopting an anti-rationalist position which is to some extent, inspired by the anti-rationalism of Heidegger. However, the truth of history is best found in the unstinting labor of historians who seem to be bothered not a bit that philosophers don't think they are able to do what they are convinced they do: discover truth about the past.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in.


Vico, Giambattista, 1668-1744; Philosophy--Early works to 1800; Philosophers--Italy; Social historians--Italy--Biography

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