Bernard Groethuysen's way of coping with the “problem of historicism”

This article argues that Groethuysen's creation of a new historiographical genre—the anonymous history of the formation of worldviews—was a response to the “problem of historicism” conceived of as a task of working out a concept of historicity beyond the relativism–objectivism dilemma. In scrutinizing Groethuysen's implementation of phenomenology to study how basic historical phenomena have been experienced, the article draws a parallel with Heidegger's response to historical relativism. In the main argument, Groethuysen's combination of a new approach to the history of ideas and a historicized philosophical anthropology reveals the possibility of avoiding the depressing dilemma between metahistorical objectivism and historicist relativism by means of a double hermeneutics. In this regard, special attention is paid to Groethuysen's phenomenological conception of narrative time.