The Era of Global Changes and Z.B. Simon's Project of a New Vision of History

Cover Page

Cite item


The article is focused on the project of a new vision of history by Z.B. Simon, who proposed his own strategy for creating a "critical ontology" of the historical process and the epistemology of comprehending the past associated with it in the light of the radical challenges of the scientific-technological development. It reveals that the works of this author can be considered as a response to the crisis of substantialist theories of historical development and the situation of the overwhelming dominance of the narrativist attitude in the approach to the study of the past today. Reflecting in a meta-critical way on the importance of the emergence of a new type of "quasi-substantial" ontology of history that should reject the "evolutionist" paradigm and the idea of the movement of humanity as a single subject towards a teleologically predetermined goal of social development, Simon outlines the contours of this kind of "radical break" with the past and its pluralistic understanding in the light of the future. Unprecedented breakthroughs of scientific knowledge can, in his understanding, give rise to many new subjects of history, who, in their aspiration to the future, should also offer radically different horizons of the past interpretation. In this perspective, Simon considers it possible to revive the role of the universalist vision of the past on the basis of its various critically justified reconstructions. In the works of this author, an attempt to justify the importance of creating a "critical ontology" of history within the boundaries of the analysis of knowing the past, characteristic of the contemporary stage of the evolution of Western thought, is clearly revealed. His new epistemology of history, emphasizing the role of "insight" inspired by individual and collective "sublime" historical experience, can be interpreted as an attempt to synthesize the views of A. Badiou with a narrativist platform combining the strategies of hermeneutics and analytical philosophy of history.

About the authors

Boris L. Gubman

Tver State University

Author for correspondence.
Dsc in Philosophy, Professor, Chair of the Dept. of Philosophy and Theory of Culture 33 Zhelyabova, Tver, 170100, Russian Federation

Karina V. Anufrieva

Tver State University

PhD in Philosophy, Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Philosophy and Theory of Culture 33 Zhelyabova, Tver, 170100, Russian Federation


  1. Simon ZB. Why the Anthropocene Has No History: Facing the Unprecedented. The Anthropocene Review. 2017; 4(3):239—245.
  2. Simon ZB. The Story of Humanity and the Challenge of Posthumanity. History of the Human Sciences. 2018;32:101—120.
  3. Hartog F. Regimes of Historicity: Presentism and Experiences of Time. Trans. Saskia Brown. New York: Columbia University Press; 2015.
  4. Assmann A. 1st die Zeit aus den Fugen? Aufstieg und Fall des Zeitregimes der Moderne. Munich: Hanser; 2013.
  5. Gumbrecht HU. Our Broad Present: Time and Contemporary Culture. New York: Columbia University Press; 2014.
  6. Simon ZB. History in Times of Unprecedented Change. L.; N.Y.: Bloomsbury Academic; 2019.
  7. Simon ZB. We are History: The Outlines of a ‘Quasi-substantive’ Philosophy of History. Rethinking History. 2016;20(2):259—279.
  8. Simon ZB. History Set into Motion Again. Rethinking History. 2015;19(4):651—667.
  9. Runia E. Moved by the Past: Discontinuity and Historical Mutation. New York: Columbia University Press; 2014.
  10. Ankersmit F. Sublime Historical Experience. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press; 2005.
  11. Nancy JL. The Birth to Presence. Trans. Brian Holmes et al. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press; 1993.
  12. Simon ZB. History Manifested: Making Sense of Unprecedented Change. European Review of History. 2015;22(5):819—834.
  13. White H. The Practical Past. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press; 2014.
  14. Simon ZB. History Begins in the Future. In: The Ethos of History: Time and Responsibility. S Helgesson and J Svenungsson (eds). New York: Berghahn Books; 2018. P. 192—209.
  15. Belov VN. Introduction to Philosophy of Culture. Мoscow: Academic Project; 2008. (In Russian).
  16. Danto AC. Narration and Knowledge. New York: Columbia University Press; 1985.
  17. Badiou A. Being and Event. Trans. O. Feltham, London: Continuum; 2005.

Copyright (c) 2022 Gubman B.L., Anufrieva K.V.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies