The sixteen essays in this volume confront the current debate about the relationship between philosophy and its history. On the one hand intellectual historians commonly accuse philosophers of writing bad - anachronistic - history of philosophy, and on the other, philosophers have accused intellectual historians of writing bad - antiquarian - history of philosophy. The essays here address this controversy and ask what purpose the history of philosophy should serve. Part I contains more purely theoretical and (...) methodological discussion, of such questions as whether there are 'timeless' philosophical problems, whether the issues of one epoch are commensurable with those of another, and what style is appropriate to the historiography of the subject. The essays in Part II consider a number of case-histories. They present important revisionist scholarship and original contributions on topics drawn from ancient, early modern and more recent philosophy. All the essays have been specially commissioned, and the contributors include many of the leading figures in the field. The volume as a whole will be of vital interest to everyone concerned with the study of philosophy and of its history. (shrink)
The use of general and universal laws in historiography has been the subject of debate ever since the end of the nineteenth century. Since the 1970s there has been a growing consensus that general laws such as those in the natural sciences are not applicable in the scientific writing of history. We will argue against this consensus view, not by claiming that the underlying conception of what historiography is—or should be—is wrong, but by contending that it is (...) based on a misconception of what general laws such as those of the natural sciences are. We will show that a revised notion of law, one inspired by the work of Sandra D. Mitchell, in tandem with Jim Woodward’s notion of “invariance,” is indeed applicable to historiography, much in the same way as it is to most other scientific disciplines. Having developed a more adequate account of general laws, we then show, by means of three examples, that what are called “pragmatic laws” and “invariance” do in fact play a role in history in several interesting ways. These examples—from cultural history, economic history, and the history of religion—have been selected on the basis of their diversity in order to illustrate the widespread use of pragmatic laws in history. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction. Unfounding times: the idea and ideal of ancient history in Western historical thought Alexandra Lianeri; Part I. Theorising Western Time: Concepts and Models: 1. Time's authority François Hartog; 2. Exemplarity and anti-exemplarity in Early Modern Europe Peter Burke; 3. Greek philosophy and Western history: a philosophy-centred temporality Giuseppe Cambiano; 4. Historiography and political theology: Momigliano and the end of history Howard Caygill; Part II. Ancient History and Modern Temporalities: 5. The (...) making of a bourgeois antiquity. Wilhelm von Humboldt and Greek history Stefan Rebenich; 6. Modern histories of Ancient Greece: genealogies, contexts and eighteenth-century narrative historiography Giovanna Ceserani; 7. Acquiring (a) historicity: Greek history, temporalities and eurocentrism in the Sattelzeit Kostas Vlassopoulos; 8. Herodotus and Thucydides in the view of nineteenth-century German historians Ulrich Muhlack; 9. Monumentality and the meaning of the past in ancient and modern historiography Neville Morley; Part III. Unfounding Time In and Through Ancient Historical Thought: 10. Thucydides and social change: between akribeia and universality Rosalind Thomas; 11. Historia magistra vitae in Herodotus and Thucydides? The exemplary use of the past, and ancient and modern temporalities Jonas Grethlein; 12. Repetition and exemplarity in historical thought: ancient Rome and the ghosts of modernity Ellen O'Gorman; 13. Time and authority in the chronicle of Sulpicius Severus Michael Williams; Part IV. Afterword: 14. Ancient history in the eighteenth century Oswyn Murray; 15. Seeing in and through time John Dunn. (shrink)
This original work caps years of thought by Leonard Krieger about the crisis of the discipline of history. His mission is to restore history's autonomy while attacking the sources of its erosion in various "new histories," which borrow their principles and methods from disciplines outside of history. Krieger justifies the discipline through an analysis of the foundations on which various generations of historians have tried to establish the coherence of their subject matter and of the convergence of (...) historical patterns. The heart of Krieger's narrative is an insightful analysis of theories of history from the classical period to the present, with a principal focus on the modern period. Krieger's exposition covers such figures as Ranke, Hegel, Comte, Marx, Acton, Troeltsch, Spengler, Braudel, and Foucault, among others, and his discussion involves him in subtle distinctions among terms such as historism, historicism, and historicity. He points to the impact on history of academic political radicalism and its results: the new social history. Krieger argues for the autonomy of historical principles and methods while tracing the importation in the modern period of external principles for historical coherence. Time's Reasons is a profound attempt to rejuvenate and restore integrity to the discipline of history by one of the leading masters of nineteenth- and twentieth-century historiography. As such, it will be required reading for all historiographers and intellectual historians of the modern period. (shrink)
History casts a spell on our minds more powerful than science or religion. It does not root us in the past at all. It rather flatters us with the belief in our ability to recreate the world in our image. It is a form of self-assertion that brooks no opposition or dissent and shelters us from the experience of time. So argues Constantin Fasolt in The Limits of History , an ambitious and pathbreaking study that conquers history's (...) power by carrying the fight into the center of its domain. Fasolt considers the work of Hermann Conring (1606-81) and Bartolus of Sassoferrato (1313/14-57), two antipodes in early modern battles over the principles of European thought and action that ended with the triumph of historical consciousness. Proceeding according to the rules of normal historical analysis--gathering evidence, putting it in context, and analyzing its meaning--Fasolt uncovers limits that no kind of history can cross. He concludes that history is a ritual designed to maintain the modern faith in the autonomy of states and individuals. God wants it, the old crusaders would have said. The truth, Fasolt insists, only begins where that illusion ends. With its probing look at the ideological underpinnings of historical practice, The Limits of History demonstrates that history presupposes highly political assumptions about free will, responsibility, and the relationship between the past and the present. A work of both intellectual history and historiography, it will prove invaluable to students of historical method, philosophy, political theory, and early modern European culture. (shrink)
One of the reasons the history of parapsychology and its ancestor psychical research is intriguing is because it addresses a central issue: the boundaries of science. This article provides an overview of the historiography of parapsychology and presents an approach to investigate the Dutch history of parapsychology contributing to the understanding of this central theme. In the first section the historical accounts provided by psychical researchers and parapsychologists themselves are discussed; next those studies of sociologists and historians (...) understanding parapsychology as deviant and even potentially revolutionary are dealt with; third, more contemporary studies are examined whereby enterprises such as parapsychology are understood as central to the culture in which they arose. On the basis of this analysis a new direction in the historiography of the subject is suggested in the fourth section, centred upon the relation between parapsychology and psychology in the Netherlands throughout the 20th century. In the Netherlands not only were pioneering psychologists such as Gerard Heymans (1857–1930) actively involved in experiments into telepathy, the first professor in parapsychology in the world – Wilhelm Tenhaeff (1894–1981) – was appointed in 1953 at Utrecht University and in the 1970s and 1980s parapsychology had its own research laboratory at Utrecht University in the division of psychology. This unique situation in the Netherlands deserves scholarly attention and makes an interesting case to investigate the much-neglected connections between the fields of psychology and parapsychology in the 20th century. The connections between psychology and parapsychology might help us to understand why parapsychology came to be regarded as a pseudoscience. (shrink)
Organized thematically, this important five-volume set brings together key essays from the field of historical studies. Including an extensive general introduction by the editor in the first volume, as well as shorter individual introductions in each of the following volumes, this set is essential reading for scholars and students alike. Coverage includes: 1. Foundations - The Classic Tradition - The Old Cultural History - Economic History 2: Society - Social History - Marxism - Annales - History (...) of Mentalities 3: Ideas - History of Ideas/ Intellectual History - History of Science - History of the Arts - History of Religion - History of Sexuality. 4: Culture - History and Anthropology - Microhistory - New Cultural History - History and Memory - The Poetics of History - Narrativity. Postmodernist Historiography and its Critics 5: Politics - Political History - Imperialism and Postcolonial History - World History - World-Systems Analysis. (shrink)
Historiography of education is not only a question of construction but also of selection. In 19th century “history of education” was typically a genre of “great educators”, mostly male and only marginally female. This construct is influential up to now, at least in popular contexts of educational reasoning. The article discusses in the introductory section problems of selection of names and meanings within history of education, and then three types of historiographical writing that are not only concerned (...) with “great educators” but have larger Philosophical impact. The first type is Herman Nohl’s history of German progressive education, the second one is Emile Durkheim’s history of Higher Education in France, and the third one is George Herbert Mead’s Movements of Thought in 19th Century. The article compares them and discusses their implications for further development of historical writing in education. (shrink)
A British historian might be excused for looking slightly askance at any collection of recent books relating to the philosophy of history. This is because we have been told, several times over and by distinguished members of the profession, that such speculative and analytic activity has little, if anything, to do with the actual business of historiography. One of the most forthright warnings was delivered on the very first page of Professor G. R. Elton's The Practice of (...) class='Hi'>History (1967), when we were advised that: ‘Every new number of History and Theory is liable to contain yet another article struggling to give history a philosophic base, and some of them are interesting. But they do not, I fear, advance the writing of history’. For Elton, therefore, there could be little point in granting his colleague in another discipline the right to assess the cognitive claims of historiography. The historian himself, and he alone, was qualified to determine, for all practical purposes, the aims and applications of historical method. It was left to the late Arnold Toynbee to diagnose (in Toynbee on Toynbee, 1974) the dangers in this protectionist approach. He claimed that Elton was ‘trying deliberately to create a closed circuit of “professional” historians’ which was, in his opinion, ‘fatal to any form of study’. But of course Toynbee's own lack of standing within the historical profession could be put forward as a telling index of the dangers of transgressing the barriers between history and philosophy. (shrink)
One of the curious things about this challenging book is that its ostensible subject— the Saxon medical and political scientist Hermann Conring (1606–1681)— is not mentioned in the title. Constantin Fasolt argues that we cannot know what Conring really thought or meant in his writings, which means that his topic cannot be Conring as such and must instead be that which occludes our knowledge of him, the titular limits of history. Given that we do in fact learn a good (...) deal about Conring from Fasolt’s book, we can only hope that the decapitation of its subject will be rectified in a subsequent edition, or perhaps by the restorative work of librarians putting together subject headings. And yet Fasolt’s decision is understandable, for Conring is indeed a stalking-horse for a much bigger quarry: historiography and the historical consciousness. By “history” Fasolt understands a way of imposing intelligibility on the world, which is founded on the twin assumptions that the past is gone and unchangeable, and that the meaning of texts can be determined by placing them in their historical contexts (ix). In challenging this mode of intelligibility, Fasolt is not attempting to improve professiona history—it’s already as good as it can be—but to displace it. He regards his work as a declaration of “independence from historical consciousness” (32). At the same time, Fasolt insists that he is not simply jumping from historiography to philosophy, or attempting to preempt history with ontology (37-39). That has been tried by Nietzsche and Heidegger, who have been tainted by Nazism (Fasolt thinks unfairly). It has also been attempted by modern philosophers from Gadamer to Foucault and Charles Taylor who, in failing to address the “violence” that its mode of intelligibility does to the world, have not succeeded in outflanking history. Perhaps, Fasolt wonders, it is only the personal experience of those who have been subject to this violence—the experience of those who have been subject to historical examination—that can break the spell of history. Fasolt’s disclaimer notwithstanding, in the course of these remarks I shall argue that he is indeed jumping from history to philosophy, or attempting to outflank history by subjecting it to a particular metaphysical understanding. I shall do so in part by sketching the recent intellectual history of this move—a historical examination that I hope inflicts as little violence as possible on Fasolt’s argument. (shrink)
In what follows I explore the question of fictionality in history writing. First, I venture into the unfamiliar genre of ego-histoire and make my own professional training in the tenets of positivist or realist historiography an object of theoretical reflection and critical analysis. Then as a way of dealing with the literary dimension of written history, I make a canonical work in history of education an object of rhetorical analysis. Finally, as another way of coming to (...) terms with the “fictions of historiography,” I revisit one of my own productions and make it an object of metacritical consideration. My central theme is that historiographical realism alone will not suffice , that historians are as dependant upon literary invention as upon documents, that history cannot be written without the aid of the “fictions of historiography,” and that the difference between the historian and the novelist is narrower than we may have been accustomed to think. I further argue that attention to the literary or rhetorical dimension of history is long overdue in history of education, where it flourishes unacknowledged. I conclude that historical writing is not just a literary pastime and the issue remains: how to come to grips with fictionalizing and the truth claims of historiography. (shrink)
The paper focuses on the concept of matter and the material in Edgar Zilsel’s considerations about historiographical methods in the context of the Marxist debates on the materialist conception of history in the 1920s and 1930s (György Lukács, Max Adler). It sheds light on Zilsel’s understanding of matter as fluctuating, interfering processes in the lapse of time and the related concept of irreversible laws and relates it to Ernst Mach’s philosophy and to Richard Semon’s theory of mneme . Finally, (...) it shows the practical consequences of the concept of materialism in Edgar Zilsel’s epistemology. (shrink)
Imre Lakatos' conception of the history of science is explicated with the purpose of replying to criticism leveled against it by Thomas Kuhn, Ian Hacking, and others. Kuhn's primary argument is that the historian's internal—external distinction is methodologically superior to Lakatos' because it is "independent" of an analysis of rationality. That distinction, however, appears to be a normative one, harboring an implicit and unarticulated appeal to rationality, despite Kuhn's claims to the contrary. Lakatos' history, by contrast, is clearly (...) the history of a normatively defined discipline; of science and not scientists and their activities. How such history can be written, the historiographic and critical tools available for its construction, and its importance as history, are considered in detail. In an afterword, the prevalence of Lakatos' treatment of history in philosophical discussion is indicated: A related approach is shown to arise in social contract theory. (shrink)
History of education emerges during the course of the nineteenth century in Germany and is marked by four features. It is educational, and not scientific in nature, because it was written primarily for teacher education and training; it is national, or even nationalistic; it is oriented almost exclusively towards German philosophy; and it is indebted to Lutheran Protestantism. This model of pedagogical historiography leaves its mark on the historiographies that emerged later in England, France, and the United States. (...) Taking the example of Rousseau, this contribution makes it clear that these Lutheran and idealist premises lead to a one-sided historiography, so that the republican tradition in which Rousseau stood could be suppressed. On this basis, the paper points up the methodological necessity in historical research to examine contexts, giving up the idea of one history of education in favor of reconstruction of various traditions. The gain lies in making visible suppressed transnational languages that educational reflection made use of for centuries. In particular, a connection is revealed between the republican education of the eighteenth century in Europe and the concern with the issue of the “good citizen” that has preoccupied the American discussion from Jefferson to the Pragmatists to Diane Ravitch. (shrink)
This work is an essential introduction to the vast body of writing about history, from classical Greece and Rome to the contemporary world. M.C. Lemon maps out key debates and central concepts of philosophy of history placing principal thinkers in the context of their times and schools of thought. Lemon explains the crucial differences between speculative philosophy as an n enquiry into the course and meaning of history and analytic philosophy of history as relating to the (...) nature and methods of history as a discipline. After providing a guide to the principal thinkers from pre-historical times to the present, the book goes on to present a critical summary of the leading issues raised by critical theorists of history, incorporating topics such as objectivity, ideology, historical explanation and narrative. (shrink)
How do historians, comparative linguists, biblical and textual critics and evolutionary biologists establish beliefs about the past? How do they know the past? This book presents a philosophical analysis of the disciplines that offer scientific knowledge of the past. Using the analytic tools of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science the book covers such topics as evidence, theory, methodology, explanation, determination and underdetermination, coincidence, contingency and counterfactuals in historiography. Aviezer Tucker's central claim is that historiography as a scientific (...) discipline should be thought of as an effort to explain the evidence of past events. He also emphasizes the similarity between historiographic methodology to Darwinian evolutionary biology. This is an important, fresh new approach to historiography and will be read by philosophers, historians and social scientists interested in the methodological foundations of their disciplines. (shrink)
Are historians storytellers? Is it possible to tell true stories about the past? These are just a couple of the questions raised in this comprehensive collection of texts about philosophy, theory, and methodology of writing history. Drawing together seminal texts from philosophers and historians, this volume presents the great debate over the narrative character of history from the 1960s onwards. The History and Narrative Reader combines theory with practice to offer a unique overview of this debate and (...) illuminates the practical implications of these philosophical debates for the writing of history. The editor's introduction offers a succinct survey of the subject to support the readings, which explore the role of narrative in everything from historical understanding and human action to linguistics and the practice of history. Including the work of F. R. Ankersmit, David Carr, Hayden White, W. H. Dray, and Frederick Olafson; a detailed bibliography; and a glossary of key concepts, this collection will prove an invaluable resource for students of historical theory and methodology. (shrink)
Is history more than (in Boswell's words) a `chronological series of remarkable events'? Does it have a pattern? Is it fraught with `meaning'? Can we discern its trends? What determines its course? In short, can a substantial and coherent philosophy of history be devised that offers answers to these questions? These issues, which have intrigued -and bedeviled - historians for centuries, are explored in this thoughtful book.
From the late-fifteenth century onwards, scholars across Europe began to write books about how to read and evaluate histories. These pioneering works - which often take surprisingly modern-sounding positions - grew from complex early modern debates about law, religion, and classical scholarship. In this book, based on the Trevelyan Lectures of 2005, Anthony Grafton explains why so many of these works were written, why they attained so much insight - and why, in the centuries that followed, most scholars gradually forgot (...) that they had existed. Elegant and accessible, What Was History? is a deliberate evocation of E. H. Carr’s celebrated and icononclastic Trevelyan Lectures on What Is History?, and will appeal to a broad readership of students, scholars and historical enthusiasts. Anthony Grafton is one of the most celebrated historians writing in English today, and What Was History? is a powerful and imaginative exploration of some central themes in the history of European ideas. (shrink)
Including international contributors from a variety of disciplines - History, English, Information Studies and Archivists – this book does not seek either to applaud or condemn digital technologies, but takes a more conceptual view of how ...
How should history of education be written? To put the question is far more easier than to provide a concrete answer. In contemporary research, there continue to be pedagogistic complaints about finding answers to present-day educational problems via history. In our view, such an ahistorical utilitarianism as well as the legitimizing and/or mythologizing belief in a particular pedagogical system, in which the history of this field is so rich since the institutionalization of the discipline at the end (...) of the nineteenth century, should be avoided at all costs. But the danger of presentism lurks around the corner as a sine qua non condition in any form of historical research. As can be found out via the comments on our own work, much of the criticism goes back to old conceptions of the discipline, conceived as “historical pedagogy” rather than as history of education. Apparently, in the field of pedagogy people are still convinced that the history of education, even if it does not provide edifying examples and useful lessons, must in any case have a training value for professionals – which in the light of modern, advanced research is rather a difficult idea to defend. (shrink)
Narrative and History explains the key concepts and practices in the composition and writing of history. It explores how knowledge of the ways in which historians author history affects many conventional understandings of its nature. Major concepts such as truth, objectivity, reference and representation are re-evaluated and re-thought in radical ways. Combining theory with practice, Alun Munslow expands the boundaries of the discipline and charts a new role for unconventional historical forms and modes of expression.
Willie Thompson offers a clear, jargon-free introduction to postmodernist theory and its significant impact on the study of history. This is a hotly-debated topic, and much of the literature is both polemical and inaccessible to the novice. Thompson, however, presents key ideas in a straightforward way, making these debates relevant to students' own work.
This article entitled “History's `So it seems'” explores the potential of phenomenology for the framing of histories which privilege partcipant perspectives. The theory agenda of the article adapts insights drawn from Heidegger's ontological hermeneutic of Da-sein - the human condition of being-there and being-aware (or not aware). The theory agenda also adapts Heidegger's readings of Heraclitus. The practical agenda of the article illustrates this potential of Heidegger's phenomenology for history by contrasting `so it once seemed' senses of the (...) Emperor Julian the Apostate's Roman pagan self-hood. The contrasts are autobiographical (Julian's Misopogon ), contemporary biographical (Ammianus Marcellinus's history), and long-lag biographical (Gore Vidal's novel avowedly constrained by the sources). (shrink)
Abstract Science and technology studies (STS) has perhaps provided the most ambitious set of challenges to the boundary separating history and philosophy of science since the 19th century idealists and positivists. STS is normally associated with `social constructivism', which when applied to history of science highlights the malleability of the modal structure of reality. Specifically, changes to what is (e.g. by the addition or removal of ideas or things) implies changes to what has been, can be and might (...) be. Latour's account of Pasteur's scientific achievement is a case in point. Two polar attitudes towards the world's modal malleability are identified: over - and under - determination, which correspond, respectively, to a belief in the inevitability and the precariousness of science as a form of knowledge. The distinctness of these positions reflects a cordon sanitaire between the history and the philosophy of science. Consequently, historical agents are not given full voice as constructors of reality: They are either quarantined to a foreign realm called `the past' by the historian or selectively assimilated to an imperial present by the philosopher. The second half of the essay explores what it might mean to restore a robust sense of reality construction to the historical agents. My case in point here is that of the 13th century Franciscan friar, Roger Bacon, who has been alternatively seen as a mad medieval or a proto-modernist. To give Bacon full voice would involve taking the future that he envisaged as a normative benchmark for judging our own world. (shrink)
Gadamer profoundly appreciates Collingwood’s Logic of Question and Answer (LQA). But while he grants its innovative serviceability, he contends that it has not been fully developed, and that its function in historical re-enactment is an exercise in historicism. Attempts have been made to defend Collingwood from Gadamer’s charge of historicism. But they have not documented the source ofGadamer’s alleged misunderstanding of Collingwood. This article will do the task. I will argue that Gadamer came up with a wrong conclusion about Collingwood’s (...) doctrine of re-enactment because he overlooked the context of a passage in The Idea of History where he examined Collingwood’s discussion of Plato’s argument in Theaetetus. I will argue that Gadamer’s lack of perspective of the overall context of Collingwood’s discussion caused him to focus on a wrong aspect of the argument. This is quite unfortunate. Because of this, Gadamer is unable to appreciate more Collingwood’s LQA and its special role in hermeneutics. (shrink)