chapter  4
Closed Circles
Pages 45

The philosophy of closed circles has its twin origins in the two main streams of eighteenth-century thought. On one side, it derives from Voltaire's philosophy of history; and, on the other, from the philosophy of the German romantics, especially from Herder. Voltaire, though anything but a romantic, forged the idea of closed circles through his 'catastrophist' vision of enlightenment and historism has certainly long survived the Romantic Movement. For the most part, the proponents of closed circles or historists are not much interested in historical development. In tracing the history of historism or closed circles, one now discovers peculiar eddies and pathways. In the social and human sciences, the abandonment of a look from the outside still leaves a very considerable knowledge about what is going on inside those closed circles. The most important difference between Darwin and Kuhn consists in the fact that, unlike Kuhn, Darwin was not a relativist.