The philosophy of culture in the "Decline of Europe" Spengler

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Cultural philosophy or the philosophy of culture isThe branch of philosophy that explores the essence, development and significance of culture. The first attempts to comprehend the significance of culture in the life of society were made back in ancient times. So, the Sophists deserve the recognition of the antinomy between the natural and cultural-moral motivations of man. Cynics and Stoics supplemented this idea and developed a theory about the depravity and artificiality of "social culture". In the Middle Ages, many prominent minds thought about what is culture and about its place in the creation of God. Later, in the New Age and, especially in the era of the Enlightenment, a lot of attention was paid to public culture. J. Rousseau, J. Vico, F. Schiller and others developed ideas about the individual originality of national cultures and the stages of their development.

But the very term "philosophy of culture" was introduced inearly XIX century. German romantic A. Muller. Since then, it has become a special branch of philosophy. It should be separated from the philosophy of history, because the process of the cultural development of mankind as a whole and of nations and nationalities in particular does not coincide in rhythms with the process of the historical development of civilizations. It also differs from such a science as the sociology of culture, because the latter focuses on culture as a phenomenon functioning in this system of social, social relations.

Especially fruitful in terms of the development of philosophyculture was the end of the XIX - early XX centuries. There appeared a whole galaxy of philosophers (F. Nietzsche, O. Spengler, G. Simmel, H. Ortega-i-Gasset, in Russia NA Berdyaev, N. Ya. Danilevsky and others) who dedicated their works to the comprehension of individual stages in the evolution of culture humanity. In this sense the invaluable contribution was made by the philosophy of culture of Spengler, the German philosopher, historian and culturologist (1880-1936).

Spengler put forward a very original conceptcyclical development of a certain culture as a kind of living organism. Taking advantage of the workings of his predecessors, the philosopher also contrasts "culture" and "civilization". According to Spengler, every culture is born, develops, passes through all stages - infancy, childhood, adolescence, maturity (in which culture reaches its peak of development), and then decrepitude, old age and finally death. When a culture dies, it becomes or degenerates into a civilization. The life cycle of crops lasts from a thousand to fifteen hundred years. The philosophy of culture in Spengler is most fully revealed in his work with the eloquent title "The Decline of Europe", in which the philosopher predicts the death of European civilization and its degeneration into a soulless race for fashion, pleasure, accumulation, desire for power and wealth.

The philosophy of culture in Spengler's teachings is basedon two basic concepts - "culture" and "civilization." However, although the philosopher gives civilizations such unflattering epithets as "mass society" and "soulless intellect", one should not simplistically think that he completely denied the benefits of scientific and technological progress. It's just that culture has a soul, and civilization is inherently soulless, because culture seeks connections with another world, something that does not lie in the plane of things, and civilization aims to study and master this world, to control things. Culture, according to Spengler, is closely connected with the cult, it is religious by definition. Civilization is mastering the surface of the world, it is soulless. Civilization tends to power, to domination over nature, culture sees in nature a purpose and language. Culture is national, and civilization is global. Culture is aristocratic, and civilization can be called democratic.

The philosophy of culture, for the period of Spengler's life,dealt with 8 impenetrable cultures, already dead, like the Egyptian, Babylonian, Mayan culture, Greco-Roman (Apollo), and with the dying-Indian, Chinese, Byzantine-Arab (magical) and West-European (Faustian). Naturally, there will be no end of the world with the decline of Europe, Spengler is convinced: there will be a period of an unspiritual era of mass consumption, until somewhere, in some corner of the world, another culture, "like flowers in the field," ripens and blossoms.

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