The problem of explanation in history is also the problem of the nature of sociology. The views adopted in this field are held to have profound moral and political implications. We have recently often been reminded of this. The simplest argument connecting a premiss about the nature of historical explanation with political or ethical consequences runs as fo llows: if rigid, unchangeable, and wide-ranging generalizations are attainable with regard to historical processes, then an outlook which presupposes individual responsibility is basically misguided. Having pointed out this implication, philosophers hostile to the conclusion then devote themselves to undermining the premiss. They may do so either by pointing out that the required historical laws have not been found, or by arguing that they could not be.