The Royal Institute of Philosophy and Cambridge University Press are pleased to announce the 2016 Philosophy Essay Prize. The winner of the Prize will receive £2,500 with his or her essay being published in Philosophy and identified as the essay prize winner.
The topic for the 2016 essay competition is:
Can there be a credible philosophy of history?
Many thinkers from classical times onwards have seen history as having a predetermined direction. Some have seen it in terms of inevitable decline, others in terms of progress to a utopian future. The idea that history has a predetermined direction has been criticised by many, who stress the unpredictability of the future in general or the effects of human freedom, creativity and ingenuity, or other ways in which the course of events may change radically. Are these or other criticisms conclusive, or is it still possible to hold a deterministic or evolutionary view, either despite the criticisms or by refuting them directly? Even given historical unpredictability in detail, are there still trends in history which can be discerned? If history has no direction, is there anything left to be said about the philosophy of history? Authors may address the question by considering some of the issues raised above or by attempting other approaches of their own.