I can't understand this sentence:

Aviezar Tucker observed that "At the foundation of all work in philosophy of history lies wonder. Wonder at social change in time, wonder about the conditions of knowledge of the past that is so significant for our understanding of ourselves and our social present".

would you please help me? thanks in advance

  • It is hard to follow because "is" in "that is so significant" is singular, and so we must find a singular antecedent in "the conditions of knowledge of the past".
    – TimR
    May 25, 2017 at 9:58
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo: Isn't it just a matter of recognising that about the conditions of knowledge of the past is an optional adjectival clause? Being optional, it can simply be deleted, leaving us with wonder that is so significant. May 25, 2017 at 13:33
  • @FumbleFingers: I wonder, are you really saying that "wonder" is significant for our understanding? You don't think the understanding has something to do with "knowledge"?
    – TimR
    May 25, 2017 at 16:24
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo: I wonder whether Tucker was thinking of wonder = [spiritual?] awe or the more mundane wonder = interest in discovering the truth about some phenomenon not currently understood. But given how confused / ignorant many people are about various recent sociopolitical changes, I'm not too sure "philosophers" really are contributing much of significance to "our" understanding of our social present (Daniel Dennett, excepted, obviously! :) May 25, 2017 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


In order to understand it better, change 'wonder' with 'amazement'. I think it's easier to understand it that way. It means that every philosophy work is motivated by an amazement caused by social change and how our vision of the past can help us understand present.

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