Journal article Open Access

METHODOLOGY OF THE COGNITION OF HISTORY OF A. TOYNBEE

Chekmeneva, Tatyana Gennadievna

The question of the dual orientation of the historical process is currently being sharply debated. On the one hand, in the course of history, there is a desire for unity and integrity of the human community, on the other - we see a tendency for each subject to preserve the social reality of his independence, uniqueness and individuality. This contradiction is not a product of the theoretical reflection of researchers; this phenomenon has objective grounds hidden in the dialectical essence of social phenomena, the nature of which has not been sufficiently studied. This circumstance leads to the fact that researchers disagree about the driving mechanisms and the nature of the historical process. Some highlight the idea of unity, others the idea of identity. This is where various versions of the course of history emerge, among which the most debatable in social philosophy are concepts based on two alternative approaches - linear-formational and cultural-civilizational. Modern science can adequately and accurately describe the specific societies that existed in the historical process, but does not have the tools that would clearly define the system-forming bases of civilizations.

Thus, there is a crisis in the modern methodology of socio-historical knowledge. The methodology is designed to form the scientific and educational background for the conduct of specific historical research: from the formulation of the problem to the interpretation of the results. Closely related to the methodology are research methods, which include procedures, techniques and tools for research, analysis, validation and evaluation of data. It must be assumed that the future of the methodology of comprehending the historical process will depend on a fruitful dialogue between various approaches and models developed and developed in the field of social and humanitarian knowledge. The philosophical and historical concept of Arnold Toynbee suggests a synthesis of linear and civilizational approaches to the historical process.

The article presents a brief biography of Arnold Toynbee, which allows to understand the formation and evolution of the views of the English historian. We consider the methods of knowledge of history, used in Toynbee's philosophical and historical concept. A historian who philosophically interprets the dialectic of human development, according to Toynbee, should look for the meaning of world history. At the same time, the comprehension of history as a definite integrity does not exclude the interest of a scientist to certain local civilizations that are subjected to morphological analysis. The result of the comparative study of the world-historical process, according to his opinion, should be not only a typology of local civilizations, but also the development of a specific set of "laws" that operate in each of them. Paradoxically, Toynbee, a fierce opponent of historical determinism, advocated a search for the “laws” of social development. In the interpretation of Toynbee, these “laws” are deprived of the status of necessity and appear as simple empirical repetitions. “The laws of the psyche” are the basis for the formulation of the “laws of history,” complementing the “divine law,” leading humanity to love and freedom. The special scientific part of his theoretical views is entirely subordinated to the religious-philosophical concept. The methodology of the British theorist reveals the deep philosophical basis for the evolution of great cultures, hidden behind the diversity of historical events.

Many modern scholars, historians, political scientists agree with A. Toynbee that religion is the main key to comparative research in the field of civilizations and cultures. It is precisely religious ethics that plays a decisive role in the development of the spiritual and economic foundations of all world civilizations. Knowledge of the past, as suggested by the English historian, speaks only of one of the many future possibilities, which makes it possible to avoid a repetition of undesirable developments. The course of human history, according to Toynbee, is not predetermined by anyone in advance.

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