Questions tagged [history-of-ideas]

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50 votes
8 answers
10k views

When and how did people begin to consider slavery immoral?

Consider this: In the ancient world, murder and theft were prohibited. However, slavery was ubiquitous and considered normal. AFAIK, nobody thought of it as immoral, though probably some called for ...
3 votes
0 answers
247 views

Are there any concepts that Da Vinci drew in his notebooks that still have not been realized today?

I know that da Vinci had a sketch of a perpetual motion wheel and a perpetual water pump but is there anything else he conceived of that modern science (mid-late 2023) has not achieved yet?
5 votes
1 answer
197 views

When and how did the concept of posthumous reward and punishment enter ancient Judaism?

Throughout the Jewish Bible / Christian Old Testament, it's pretty consistently expressed that all people have the same fate after death - although the nature of that fate is sometimes seems to be ...
1 vote
0 answers
136 views

Was any belief about the nature of the soul before birth widespread enough to influence common people's lives?

Medieval (European Christian 5-15th century) theologians used to argue between a few ideas about the origin of the soul (creationism, traducianism & pre-existence). However, was any belief about ...
24 votes
3 answers
8k views

Did pre-Columbian Americans know the spherical shape of the Earth?

The Maya are known for their astronomy and mathematics, most notably their famous calculation of the length of a year. I was surprised to learn that they supported a flat Earth model, though to be ...
22 votes
3 answers
5k views

When did the acceptance of diversity become such an important social goal in Western countries? [closed]

In most Western countries today, embracing diversity is considered both a desirable end and a means to an end[Unsupported assertion]. Every other day sees another academic publication showing that ...
2 votes
2 answers
4k views

When did the spherical shape of the Earth become common knowledge?

It's well-known that intellectuals in the West have accepted a spherical Earth since antiquity, but I'm not sure how long it took for this to become common knowledge, worldwide. So a more concrete ...
3 votes
5 answers
1k views

What was the first political document that invoked the interest or betterment of humanity?

What was the first political document or speech that invoked the interest or betterment of humanity as a whole as a substantiation for an action or a move? Invocation of the betterment for a nation, ...
1 vote
1 answer
152 views

How pervasive was the idea that we had reached "the end of history" in America during the ninties? [closed]

Sorry if this is ill-defined. I've heard that in the nineties, there was a pervasive idea in American society that were on the cusp of a liberal utopia, in which there would be no war between nations ...
42 votes
2 answers
5k views

Who first called natural satellites "moons"?

Question: when did someone first call the astronomical objects that orbit planets "moons"? More precisely, I'm probably looking for the first use of lunae in this context. I assume that &...
5 votes
1 answer
271 views

Who is "Rhadir of Seville"?

I'm studying Nicolaus Copernicus' work, and this certain website mentions multiple people who inspired his heliocentric theory. Among the people mentioned, there's Peuerbach, Heraclides, Muller and ...
3 votes
1 answer
403 views

Where can I find information about "stone power" / lapidaire?

While doing some research about Middle-Ages jewelry, where stones comes from and the economy around it, I found a website mentioning this book and mention beliefs in some magical properties of ...
3 votes
4 answers
522 views

Have any large scale cultural or ideological shifts ever been successfully reversed by those who opposed it?

Looking at the current political and cultural scene in many societies, one sees a pattern of tension between on one hand modernists and progressives, who see themselves as moving forward and being on ...
0 votes
2 answers
165 views

How long have culture wars/cultural dichotomies been around? [closed]

It seems that most contemporary societies have some sort of cultural dichotomy or culture war going on. In the West it is Left vs. Right. In Middle Eastern countries it is Secular vs. Religious. In ...
0 votes
1 answer
85 views

What exactly is the "revolution from the bourgeois" referred to in flow?

I was reading the book Flow by Mihaly Csizkszentmihalyi, wherein the following quote is made on page 67: “The much more subtle but equally coercive social controls of bourgeois Vienna made Freud’s ...
0 votes
1 answer
137 views

Easter ornaments question

I know that there’s Christmas ornaments, but are there Easter ornaments? Have any been made historically? I’ve never seen them but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist though.
2 votes
2 answers
350 views

When is the first recorded instance of someone dying for a principle?

When we think of martyrs, we often go back to the early Christians as the typical examples - dying for the idea that they should worship one God and no other. Another often quoted example is Socrates -...
0 votes
1 answer
298 views

History of ideas, and importance of, "race" as a concept in the United States? [closed]

"Race" (a concept and social action) appears to have been accepted by "the state" (the repressive and administrative function) in the United States as a self-evident fact in the state's law, ...
4 votes
2 answers
368 views

How much of what we know about ancient philosophers comes from oral literature?

Have any orally-transmitted myths survived​ throughout the centuries in such a form that we could identify any of the ancient philosophers of Classical Greece and Rome in them? I'm interested in ...
6 votes
5 answers
301 views

How accurate is Russell on liberalism versus fanaticism in war?

After the second world war, reflecting on the rule of empiricism versus various kinds of dogmatism in political philosophy, Bertrand Russell writes (Philosophy and Politics, 1947; emphasis mine): ...
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why did Mozi's philosophy die out in China?

Today in my Social Studies class we learned about Mozi by reading the material he wrote in translation. According to my teacher, despite enormous initial influence Mohism, the philosophy developed by ...
4 votes
2 answers
265 views

What book on liberty did Lord Acton not write?

Momigliano writes in his essay A Piedmontese View of the History of Ideas: Lord Acton managed to become famous for a book on liberty he did not write. What is meant by this puzzling sentence?
3 votes
0 answers
136 views

On the epistemological repercussions of 1492

Lecture 11 of Yuval Harari's online course A brief history of humankind is titled "The discovery of ignorance." In it he presents the thesis that by arriving at a land mass entirely different from ...
1 vote
5 answers
2k views

Is external expansion an element of fascist ideology

The topic of ideology is very fascinating to me. I'm currently writing a book about it. Although its related to a different context, information about all ideology would be helpful. I'm getting ...
2 votes
1 answer
145 views

More Scientific Discoveries Outside Academia Past 50 Years? [closed]

I heard someone claim there have been more scientific discoveries outside of academia, in industry, the past 50 years than in academia. Is this true? Has anyone tried to quantify this?
4 votes
1 answer
157 views

Cultures of the image and cultures of the word

Steven Weinberg's 2002 review of Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science contains the following: In this, Wolfram is allying himself with one side in the ancient struggle between what (with much ...
14 votes
6 answers
2k views

When and how did the idea of a "class-less" society originate in the United States?

The United States is often referred to as a "class-less" society where anyone can rise to any height. Leaving aside whether this is actually the case or not, when and how did this idea originate? Was ...
4 votes
2 answers
824 views

To what can we trace the idea of "civic responsibility"?

Can the sense of "civic responsibility" (i.e. the individual sense of participation and duty towards the construction and maintenance of a public order, and its enactment), be traced historically as ...
9 votes
1 answer
308 views

The history of the idea that lack of moral censure leads to decline

"The decline of a civilization has long been linked, anecdotally, to less moral censure and a decline in manners (manners being self, usually-moral censorship)." (Brock Adams, commenting an earlier ...