I propose to give here, in a few words, an outline refutation of historicism. The argument may be summed up in five statements, as follows.

  1. The course of human history is strongly influenced by the growth of human knowledge. The truth of this premise must be admitted even by those who see in our ideas, including scientific ideas, merely the by-products of material developments of some kind or another.

  2. We cannot predict, by rational or scientific methods, the future growth of our knowledge.

  3. We cannot, therefore, predict the future course of human history.

  4. This means that we must reject the possibility of a theoretical history; that is to say, of a historical social science that would correspond to theoretical physics. There can be no scientific theory of historical development serving as a basis for historical prediction.

  5. The fundamental aim of historicist methods is therefore misconceived; and historicism collapses.

Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism (1957). A useful antidote to current technologically-based determinism also.