“Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man is an optimistic work, constituting probably the most important contribution to substantive philosophy of history since the works of Marx and his communist successors. Surprisingly, in view of philosophy's recent willingness to engage with substantive questions, it has been greeted more with criticism, from almost every point of view, than by any sympathetic attempt to understand its positive thesis and to evaluate it as an instrument for the analysis and resolution of contemporary concerns in world politics and in political theory. The present work is the first serious attempt to provide a rounded evaluation, which is sympathetic to Fukuyama's aims. It sets his thesis in the context of 'end of history' theories from Kant to Marx, acknowledges its affinities with different aspects of them, but argues that its metaphysical commitments are much more acceptable to the modern world than those of its predecessors. In the course of so doing, it corrects both many misinformed criticisms which have been made of Fukuyama, and some of Fukuyama's own mistakes and omissions, particularly his failure to think of the 'end' of history in the sense in which that has been developed in realised eschatology. Written with great learning and clarity, it makes a powerful case for the fundamental importance and contemporary relevance of Fukuyama's work and for works of the same genre. Like Fukuyama, its authors believe that philosophy of history can and should make a real difference to our understanding of our present social and political problems. Their work should be read both by all who share this belief and, as a challenge, by those who do not.” –Professor Leon Pompa, University of Birmingham
“This excellent study . . . is clear and comprehensive . . . a fascinating read, and is itself a substantive and timely contribution to the philosophy of history.” –Philosophy in Review
(Philosophy in Review
“. . . a very careful and balanced exposition of the subtlety of Fukuyama's argument . . . It is written in a clear and accessible way . . . I would recommend this book as a valuable and sympathetic introduction to the intricacies and nuances of Fukuyama's intellectual manoeuvres in advancing a controversial thesis in an unfashionable genre.” –Welsh History Review
(Welsh History Review
About the Author
Howard Williams is a Professor in the Department of Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Gwyn Matthews is a Lecturer at the University of Wales, Bangor. David Sullivan tutors in Philosophy and Politics at Coleg Harlech.