Herder's This Too a Philosophy of History for the Formation of Humanity (1774) is known for its pioneering use of the word 'nationalism', and for its scathing critique of various Enlightened narratives of European history and their corresponding ethical views (cosmopolitanism). This article seeks to reconstruct this critique and Herder's account of the process of civilization, so as to uncover the possible moral and political message of this work. Tracing the evolution of Herder's early philosophy of history, and positioning it in his contemporary debates on the development of the human mind and sociability, the article argues that Herder posited a distinctive natural dynamic of mental and moral development in human history. For Herder, human languages and thinking gradually became ever more abstract and refined, which, however, led to the weakening of the intensity of feeling and undermined the efficacy of moral motivation. In This Too a Philosophy, Herder specified the spiralling pattern of European history, identifying two crucial cycles in it: in the first stage, nations followed only the natural dynamic of mental and moral development, while the second and 'higher' one was initiated through the adoption of the universalistic Christian religion by the barbarous Germanic tribes conquering the Roman territories. Herder's famous defence of national prejudices and antagonism concerned the first (pre- Christian) period specifically, while he identified the rise of a Christian ideal of the 'brotherhood of nations' in the second. With the continuing progress of abstract thinking and social differentiation in modern Europe, however, various modern moral and political pathologies emerged, including the development of an entirely abstract 'love of mankind'. While remaining pessimistic about the chances for Europe's moral and political regeneration, Herder advocated the pursuit of a distinctively modern 'pure' and sociable virtue, which would seek to avoid the various pitfalls of abstract cosmopolitanism.