History and historiography in process

History and Theory 43 (1):39–56 (2004)
Abstract
Although in philosophical dictionaries and the like, Alfred North Whitehead is often praised as one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century, his work has been virtually ignored. The articles and books that are concerned with Whitehead’s philosophy, with the exception of the work of Dale H. Porter, hardly ever mention the relevance that it has for the philosophy of history and for historiography. I intend to demonstrate this relevance in this article. For this purpose, I will explore three themes: 1) the self-evidence of certain kinds of forgetting by historians; 2) the fallacy of the view that the occurrence of these kinds of forgetting in historiography must necessarily lead to truth-relativism; and 3) continuity in history, which persists even when certain ruptures occur. My treatment of these themes will in part be a response to Frank Ankersmit, who took up some of them from a different perspective in the October issue of History and Theory in 2001
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