Western civilization in the light of the philosophy of history

Compares the philosophies of history of Oswald Spengler, Arnold J. Toynbee, and Eric Voegelin. Spengler's work posited a civilizational determinism wherein societies pass through stages much like the seasons on their way to extinction. Toynbee, reacting to Spengler's notion of the decline of the West, asserted that there is no inherent reason why civilizations must die, but nonetheless considered irreligion a chief cause of why they do, thinking so with the modern West in mind. Voegelin seconded this notion with his warning about gnosticism, which encourages the tendency of democracies to give way to tyranny.