Publication Details

Melleuish, G. & Rizzo, S. (2017). Philosophy of history: Change, stability and the tragic human condition. Cosmos and History: the journal of natural and social philosophy, 13 (3), 292-311.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Cosmos Publishing Cooperative


This paper contends that the role of a philosophy of history in the twenty first century is as a meta-discourse which explains and attempts to understand the role of history as part of human being-in-the-world. Such a philosophy of history will not, as in the past, take the form of a universal history. Instead it will take a phenomenological approach which seeks to explore the historical enterprise as a means through which human beings attempt to come to terms with the fact that, despite their craving for being, they live in a world which is marked by becoming. Change and its implications are at the core of any philosophy of history. History is an attempt to master change and to keep its somewhat frightening consequences under control. Humans both crave being and stability and appreciate that change is their constant companion. That is part of the tragic nature of human existence.