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Summary People have long sought to give meaning to historical processes. One solution has been religion; engagement with associated philosophical issues continues. Since the Enlightenment with its “scientific” understanding history has been disciplinised in various ways as unassociated with religion; philosophical reflections by historians on historiographical methods also continue. For twentieth-century analytical philosophy there were two traditions in philosophy of history: “speculative” and “analytical”. A speculative philosopher of history, for example Hegel or Marx, would seek by non-empirical methods a profound understanding of the hitherto hidden plan of actual historical change and would offer a political ideology suitable for mass motivation; such speculations continue. Analytical philosophers initially addressed problems of historical knowledge and explanation, but much has migrated to the philosophies of science and of action. With Continental, post-Wittgenstein and pragmatic approaches permitting the historicising of philosophical analysis, metaphilosophical problems of the history and philosophy of history remain; the aesthetic understanding of “narrative” and the ethics of the recovery of shared memory are central. Philosophers and historians across the world often work in ignorance of the traditions of their many opponents, but the first conference of the International Network for the Theory of History attracted in 2013 a large and varied attendance which found much to share, although philosophy of history has not yet settled into an analytically well-structured discipline.
Key works Four journals in the subject should be perused: History and Theory, Storia della Storiografia, Rethinking History and The Journal of the Philosophy of History. For a clear logical empiricist expression of causal explanation in history see Hempel 1942, with Collingwood 1993 and Dray 1979 expressing noncausal modes of understanding past actions.  Skinner 1969 applies speech act theory to the history of ideas and the interpretation of evidence.  Danto 1968 takes narrative seriously and offers a largely reductionist account, while Gorman 1974 and Ankersmit 1983 argue in different ways for the epistemological centrality of narrative understanding.  White 1973 and 1987 argues that narrative history is a literary artefact with poetic modes of structure and sets much of the modern agenda.  Tucker 2004 offers an analytical account of reasoning from historical evidence in terms of Bayesian decision theory.
Introductions Day 2008 is a study guide that assesses the arguments of major philosophers and historians who have contributed to the theory of history. It is suitable for undergraduate students in both philosophy and history, and deals with historical evidence, methodology and reasoning; the relationships between history, science and causation; narrative, empathy and rational action; truth, objectivity and scepticism. Gorman 1992 is intended for both undergraduate and postgraduate philosophy and history students. It deals with fundamental issues in the epistemology and metaphysics of history from an analytical and pragmatic viewpoint, and offers a detailed analysis comparing economic history and traditional narrative history. Tucker 2009 contains 50 papers by international experts on a wide range of issues in the theory of history. Jenkins 1995 helpfully introduces postmodern approaches.
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Siblings:History/traditions: Philosophy of History
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  1. A. C. D. A. C. D. (1986). CLIO'S MIRROR. Historiography in Britain and the Netherlands. Edited by A. C. Duke and C. A. Tamse. [REVIEW] History and Theory 25 (3):355.
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  2. A. D. H. A. D. H. (1990). The Historical Method of Herodotus. By Donald Lateiner. [REVIEW] History and Theory 29 (3):385.
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  3. A. G. O. A. G. O. (1978). Due Saggi Su R. G. Collingwood. Con Un'appendice di Lettere Inedite di Collingwood a G. De Ruggiero. By Alessandra Greppi Olivetti. [REVIEW] History and Theory 17 (1):145.
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  4. A. J. W. A. J. W. (1989). Rhetoric in Classical Historiography. Four Studies. By A. J. Woodman. [REVIEW] History and Theory 28 (2):253.
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  5. A. J. Y. A. J. Y. (1987). The Prince and the Pretender. A Study in the Writing of History. By A. J. Youngson. [REVIEW] History and Theory 26 (2):237.
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  6. A. L. L. A. L. L. (1984). Historical Understanding in Geography. An Idealist Approach. By Leonard Guelke. [REVIEW] History and Theory 23 (1):147.
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  7. A. A. A. A. (1986). Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola, Symbol of His Age. Modern Interpretations of a Renaissance Philosopher. By William G. Craven. [REVIEW] History and Theory 25 (1):113.
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  8. C. A. C. A. (1985). Historians and the Law in Postrevolutionary France. By Donald R. Kelley. [REVIEW] History and Theory 24 (2):231.
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  9. D. A. D. A. (1983). The Origin of Formalism in Social Science. By Jeffrey T. Bergner. [REVIEW] History and Theory 22 (1):101.
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  10. F. G. A. (1964). On History. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 17 (3):477-478.
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  11. R. A. (1956). The Idea of History. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 10 (2):360-360.
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  12. R. A. R. A. (1981). The Revolutionary Histories. Contemporary Narratives of the American Revolution. By Lester H. Cohen. [REVIEW] History and Theory 20 (2):234.
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  13. W. A. W. A. (1983). A Functional Past. The Uses of History in Nineteenth-Century Chile. By Allen Woll. [REVIEW] History and Theory 22 (1):104.
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  14. Hans Aarsleff (2012). Pufendorf and Condillac on Law and Language. Journal of the Philosophy of History 5 (3):308-321.
    Abstract This essay argues that Pufendorf conceived the principles of natural law against the rationalism and innatism of the 17th century, and that Condillac similarly formulated a conception of the human origin of language, both of them thus securing open and human foundations for the two primal institutions of law and language, and also making all citizens free agents in the ordering of communal living.
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  15. José Antonio Merino Abad (1984). La historia como producto y proyecto humanos. Cuadernos Salmantinos de Filosofía 11:267-278.
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  16. Oscar Moro Abadía (2008). Beyond the Whig History Interpretation of History: Lessons on 'Presentism' From Hélène Metzger. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):194-201.
    During the second half of the twentieth century, historians of science have shown a considerable interest in ‘presentism’, a term first applied to the kind of history of science in which past knowledge is judged to celebrate and legitimize modern science. Taking Herbert Butterfield’s The Whig interpretation of history as a point of reference, ‘presentism’ has been usually associated with ‘Whig history’ or ‘Whiggish history’. Nevertheless, Butterfield’s essay is one of many approaches to this question. In this article, I examine (...)
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  17. Ricardo G. Abduca (2014). El Folklore Entre la Etnografía, la Historia y la Lingüística: El Habla Criolla Chaqueña y la Gauchesca Escrita. Corpus.
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  18. Henry Abelove (1984). Making Histories: Studies in History-Writing and Politics. Edited by Richard Johnson, Gregor McLennan, Bill Schwarz, and David Sutton. [REVIEW] History and Theory 23 (1):149.
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  19. Henry Abelove (1982). E. P. THOMPSON, "The Poverty of Theory". [REVIEW] History and Theory 21 (1):132.
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  20. Henry Abelove (1982). Review. [REVIEW] History and Theory 21:132-142.
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  21. Henry Abelove (1979). The Nature of Biography. By Robert Gittings. [REVIEW] History and Theory 18 (3):437.
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  22. José Antônio Damásio Abib (2009). Epistemologia pluralizada e história da psicologia. Scientiae Studia 7 (2):195-208.
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  23. Janet Lippman Abu-Lughod (1995). The World-System Perspective in the Construction of Economic History. History and Theory 34 (2):86-98.
    This essay examines the experience of rewriting historical narratives from a world-system perspective, drawing on the author's attempt to construct an integrated image of the world economy in the thirteenth century. Searching for an intermediate epistemological path between unanchored postmodern hermeneutics and overconfident positivism, the author argues that three apparent deviations from the "ideals of positivist social science," which she ironically labels eccentricity, ideology, and idiosyncrasy, can yield significant "remakings" of world history. Eccentricity, namely, recognizing perspectives other than those that (...)
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  24. David Abulafia (2011). 4. Mediterranean History as Global History. History and Theory 50 (2):220-228.
    Mediterranean history, and the history of other closed seas, is seen here as the experience of those who traversed the sea and arrived as decentered aliens on the other side. Mainly these have been men, with merchants generally as pioneers who introduced the goods, ideas, and religion of one region to another. From antiquity onwards, port cities such as Carthage, Alexandria, Smyrna, and Livorno acted as links among the three continents facing the Mediterranean, and visitors from other lands were sometimes (...)
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  25. Sapir Abulafia, Howard Hotson & Richard A. Muller (2010). bOOkS IN SUmmary. History and Theory 49 (2):447-450.
    James A. Diefenbeck, Wayward Reflections on the History ofPhilosophyThomas R. Flynn Sartre, Foucault and Historical Reason. Volume 1:Toward an Existential Theory of HistoryMark Golden and Peter Toohey Inventing Ancient Culture:Historicism, Periodization and the Ancient WorldZenonas Norkus Istorika: Istorinis IvadasEverett Zimmerman The Boundaries of Fiction: History and theEighteenth‐Century British Novel.
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  26. Jamil Abun-Nasr (2011). An Empire of Facts: Colonial Power, Cultural Knowledge, and Islam in Algeria, 1870–1914. By George R. Trumbull IV. [REVIEW] Journal of Islamic Studies 22 (3):449-452.
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  27. H. B. Acton (1953). WALSH, W. H. - An Introduction to Philosophy of History. [REVIEW] Mind 62:564.
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  28. H. B. Acton (1939). The Philosophy of History. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 40:75 - 88.
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  29. A. M. Adam (2000). Book Review: The What and the Why of History. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 30 (1):131-140.
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  30. A. M. Adam (1999). On the Methods of History. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 29 (2):315-324.
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  31. A. M. Adam (1995). "The Idea of History", by R. G. Collingwood, Edited and with a New Introduction by J. Van der Dussen. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 25 (2):256.
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  32. A. M. Adam (1995). Book Reviews : R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History. Rev. Ed., Edited and with a New Introduction by J. Van der Dussen, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993. Pp. Xlvii, 510. $108.00 (Cloth. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 25 (2):256-258.
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  33. A. M. Adam (1994). "Human Nature and Historical Knowledge", by Leon Pompa. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 24 (2):250.
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  34. A. M. Adam (1994). Book Reviews : Leon Pompa, Human Nature and Historical Knowledge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Pp. 234. $44.50. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 24 (2):250-252.
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  35. Ben Adams (2012). History. Philosophy Now 88:34-35.
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  36. J. S. A. Adamson (1986). Procopius and the Sixth Century. By Averil Cameron. [REVIEW] History and Theory 25 (2):220.
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  37. Walter Adamson (1980). Review. [REVIEW] History and Theory 19:186-204.
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  38. Walter A. Adamson (1980). WILLIAM A. SHAW, "Marx's Theory of History". [REVIEW] History and Theory 19 (2):186.
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  39. Walter L. Adamson (1981). Marx's Four Histories: An Approach to His Intellectual Development. History and Theory 20 (4):379.
    Helmut Fleischer has distinguished three different approaches to history in the development of Marx's thinking: the "anthropological" , the "pragmatological" , and the "nomological" . However, these represent a less continuous and coherent development than Fleischer claims. The 1857 Introduction to the Grundrisse can be instanced as a fourth view, more focused than the others on historiography, and at variance with what Marx says elsewhere. The sequence and overlapping of these four views call into question both the interpretation of Marx's (...)
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  40. Josè Pérez Adan (1989). Notas para la confección de una historia olvidada: los presupuestos ideológicos del anarquismo anglosajón. Revista Venezolana de Filosofía 25:73-92.
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  41. Robert Adcock (2007). Who's Afraid of Determinism? The Ambivalence of Macro-Historical Inquiry. Journal of the Philosophy of History 1 (3):346-364.
    This paper explores explanatory practices of macro-historical social science in light of philosophical stances on determinism versus indeterminism. Analysis of determinism and its implications show its compatibility with practices emphasizing causal complexity, contingency, and choice. It can, moreover, clarify and contain these practices in ways that extend the priority traditionally given to causal explanation by macro-historical social scientists. Analysis of indeterminism shows, by contrast, that each of its major varieties challenge macro-historical explanatory practices. To embrace indeterminism and follow through its (...)
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  42. Laird Addis (1966). Freedom and the Marxist Philosophy of History. Philosophy of Science 33 (1/2):101-.
    Many believe that the Marxist philosophy of history entails that man is not free in a sense in which it seems obvious that he is. In particular it is held to be (1) materialistic, (2) holistic, (3) economistic, and (4) fatalistic. It is claimed, in short, that since the Marxist philosophy of history has these features, man is not capable of shaping his own (social) destiny if it is true. I show for each of these features either that it does (...)
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  43. Howard Adelman (1974). Rational Explanation Reconsidered: Case Studies and the Hempel-Dray Model. History and Theory 13 (3):208-224.
    Both William Dray's and Carl Hempel's models of rational explanation share a common paradigm of decision-making in history. They define a rational decision as a deliberative selection of a particular deed, according to a rationale and after a consideration of circumstances and possible consequences, in order to achieve some pre-determined objective. But Dray's and Hempel's own examples of historiographical practice reveal that decisions are generally concerned not with which deed to perform, but with whether or not to perform a certain (...)
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  44. Roger Adelson (1997). Speaking of History Conversations with Historians. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  45. Madhumalati Adhikari (2002). History and Story: Unconventional History in Michael Ondaatje's the English Patient and James A. Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. History and Theory 41 (4):43–55.
    “Literary history” is a cross between conventional history and pure fiction. The resulting hybrid provides access to history that the more conventional sort does not . This claim is demonstrated by an analysis of two novels about World War II, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, and Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener. These two very different novels in English are by writers themselves very different from each other, writers from different times, different social and political backgrounds, and (...)
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  46. Thomas Africa (1973). Review. [REVIEW] History and Theory 12:351-357.
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  47. Thomas W. Africa (1973). Michael Grant, "the Ancient Historians". [REVIEW] History and Theory 12 (3):351.
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  48. Joseph Agassi (2007). Rationalizing the Historiography of Science. Nuova Civiltà Delle Macchine 25 (2).
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  49. Joseph Agassi (1963). Amperé's Discovery. History and Theory 2:20-23.
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  50. Joseph Agassi (1963). Historical Explanations. History and Theory 2:74-79.
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