The philosophy of history encompasses two distinct though related inquiries. First, writers such as Marx, Spengler, and Toynbee have claimed to demonstrate that history obeys certain general laws or patterns. These laws are not confined to particular events or periods in history. Unlike their less ambitious colleagues, these writers think that historians can go beyond the analysis of topics like the rise of the Industrial Revolution or the origins of World War I. These topics, and others like them, form but passing incidents in schemes of cosmic range.