The task of writing a history of the ideas in which we are interestedof historicism and its connection with totalitarianism-will not be attempted here. The reader will remember, I hope, that I do not even try to give more than a few scattered remarks which may throw light on the background of the modern version of these ideas. The story of their development, more particularly during the period from Plato to Hegel and Marx, could not possibly be told while keeping the size of the book within reasonable limits. I shall therefore not attempt a serious treatment of Aristotle, except in so far as his version of Plato’s essentialism has influenced the historicism of Hegel, and thereby that of Marx. The restriction to those ideas of Aristotle with which we have become acquainted in our criticism of Plato, Aristotle’s great master, does not, however, create as serious a loss as one might fear at first sight. For Aristotle, in spite of his stupendous learning and his astonishing scope, was not a man of striking originality of thought. What he added to the Platonic store of ideas was, in the main, systematization and a burning interest in empirical and especially in biological problems. To be sure, he is the inventor of logic, and for this and his other

achievements, he amply deserves what he himself claimed (at the end of his Sophistic Refutations)—our warm thanks, and our pardon for his shortcomings. Yet for readers and admirers of Plato these shortcomings are formidable.