About this topic
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 1964 expressing noncausal modes of understanding past actions.  Skinner 1969 applies speech act theory to the history of ideas and the interpretation of evidence.  Danto 1965 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 2008 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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  1. Arvi Grotenfelt and neo-Kantian philosophy of history.Lauri Kallio - 2020 - Con-Textos Kantianos 1 (11):336-351.
    The paper discusses Arvi Grotenfelt's, professor of philosophy in Helsinki 1905 – 29, reading of Heinrich Rickert's philosophy of history. Rickert was one of the key figures of the so-called south-west German neo-Kantianism. In the center of attention of the south- west neo-Kantians was the topic that Immanuel Kant himself had omitted: how to philosophically establish the humanities and the social sciences and separate them from the natural sciences? Rickert's philosophy of history was essentially an attempt to ground the historical (...)
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  2. Why can’t we see this controversy? Bruno Latour, Greek myths, local alternatives.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    This paper proposes (once again) that a controversy has been omitted from Robert Graves’s account of how the Greek myths became an established part of the British education system. I address a question from the secondary literature on Bruno Latour: why can’t we see this controversy? Two reasons are speculatively identified.
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  3. Doing history in the original position.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    An objection to John Rawls’s original position is that it faces a problem of inconsistent features: the individuals in this hypothetical situation are not supposed to know where they are in history, but they have knowledge of general social science, from which they can infer at which point in time they are. In this paper, I consider two solutions. One of these solutions depends on extending a solution to another well-known objection: that readers cannot imagine lacking the knowledge that these (...)
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  4. Advantages and Disadvantages of Philosophy of History: Hegel, Nietzsche, Foucault.P. Winston Fettner - manuscript
    The existential approach to the philosophy of history focuses on the question of the meaning of history for human life. Do human beings have any agency within history? Do we create history, or are we created by it? How are we to bear the smallness of our own lives within the grand sweep of human events? How do we handle the duality of being both historical persons and biological entities, an animal species both like no other animal, because essentially cultural (...)
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  5. Àgua Política.Mota Victor - manuscript
  6. Nachala rat︠s︡ionalʹnoĭ filosofii istorii: issledovatelʹskai︠a︡ programma, modeli i gipotezy.N. S. Rozov - unknown - Novosibirsk: Novosibirskiĭ gos. universitet.
    -- vyp. 4. Opyt teoreticheskoĭ istorii -- vyp. 5. Poznavatelʹnye sredstva teoreticheskoĭ istorii -- vyp. 6. Metod teoreticheskoĭ istorii.
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  7. Ibn Khaldun and Philosophy.Muhammed Ilkhani - unknown - Kheradnameh Sadra Quarterly 54.
    Ibn Khaldun followed Ghazzali in his theological criticism of philosophy, attention to religious beliefs, and considering formal logic as a science independent from the Peripatetic metaphysics. However, he stood at a distance from him in terms of his epistemological criticism of philosophy. He believed that philosophy was not enough for man's eternal and supernatural happiness and limited it to the domain of physics. His criticism of philosophy was based on empirical knowledge, and he avoided abstract concepts in this regard. In (...)
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  8. Jacob Burckhardt and the Philhellenism of the Future: Jacob Burckhardt, The Greeks and Greek Civilization. [REVIEW]Suzanne Marchand - unknown - Arion 8 (3).
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  9. A Narrativist Revival?Frank R. Ankersmit - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History:1-25.
    Up till the 1980s narrativist philosophers of history were mainly interested in the cognitivist dimension of historical narrative. With Hayden White this interest was exchanged for an exclusive preoccupation with the literary aspects of the historian’s narrative representation of the past. However, it may seem that a revival of pre-Whitean narrativist philosophy of history is at hand. Two recent books suggest as much: one by Chiel van den Akker published in 2018 and one more by Paul Roth that came out (...)
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  10. History, Causation, and the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Bruce S. Bennett & Moletlanyi Tshipa - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History:1-22.
    The Many-Worlds Interpretation is a theory in physics which proposes that, rather than quantum-level events being resolved randomly as according to the Copenhagen Interpretation, the universe constantly divides into different versions or worlds. All physically possible worlds occur, though some outcomes are more likely than others, and therefore all possible histories exist. This paper explores some implications of this for history, especially concerning causation. Unlike counterfactuals, which concern different starting conditions, MWI concerns different outcomes of the same starting conditions. It (...)
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  11. Brentano’s epistemology of history: inner experience and the reality of the past.Federico Boccaccini - forthcoming - Perspectives on Science.
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  12. Critical History, and.D. Breazeale - forthcoming - Revue Internationale de Philosophie.
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  13. Think Through History.Jamie Byrom, Christine Consell, Michael Gorman, Michael Riley & Andrew Wrenn - forthcoming - Minds and Machines.
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  14. The epistemic and moral role of testimony†.Katherine L. Caldwell - forthcoming - History and Theory.
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  15. Feminist history after the linguistic turn: Historicizing discourse and experience.Kathleen Canning - forthcoming - History and Theory: Feminist Research, Debates, Contestations.
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  16. Confrontation and Its Problems: Can the History of Science Provide Evidence for the Philosophy of Science?Thodoris Dimitrakos - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History:1-32.
    In this paper I am concerned with the relation between the history of science and the philosophy of science from the perspective of philosophy. In particular, I examine two philosophical objections against the idea that the history of science can provide evidences to the philosophy of science. The first objection is metaphysical and suggests that given Hume’s law, i.e. that norms cannot be derived from facts and given that the history of science is a descriptive enterprise while the philosophy of (...)
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  17. Review-Essay.Robert Doran - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History:1-11.
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  18. From Narrativism to Pragmatism.Brian Fay - forthcoming - New Content is Available for Journal of the Philosophy of History.
    _ Source: _Page Count 11 Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen’s _Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography_ is a major work in the philosophy of history, one that seeks to conceive historiographies not as concerned to represent the past but rather to propose ways of regarding it. To do this requires replacing narrative as the key element in the philosophy of history with the idea that historiographies are informal arguments that propose and defend a thesis about how events or entities of the past should be viewed. (...)
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  19. The linguistic turn and beyond in contemporary theory of history.Brian Fay - forthcoming - History and Theory: Contemporary Readings.
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  20. Rüsen’s Legacy of Synthetic Historicism.Juan L. Fernández - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History:1-10.
    The English translation of Jörn Rüsen’s Historik is a major event in the global community of the theory of history. Few contemporary thinkers in this field have been so systematic and comprehensive as Rüsen. This book, rendered as Evidence and Meaning, is the outcome of a whole life devoted to the renewal of German historicism. Rüsen’s contribution mirrors the great debates held in West Germany since the 1960s about the theory of history, discussions that prompted a conjoint reassessment of the (...)
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  21. Review of Mandelbaum's' Problem of Historical Knowledge'in. [REVIEW]Lewis S. Feuer - forthcoming - Science and Society.
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  22. Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography_ _, written by Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen.Froeyman Anton - forthcoming - New Content is Available for Journal of the Philosophy of History.
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  23. Psychoanalyse en Geschiedfilosofie: Frank Ankersmit en Eelco Runia over de Relatie tussen Heden en Verleden.Anton Froeyman - forthcoming - Psychoanalytische Perspectieven.
  24. Narrative Explanations: The Case for Causality.Georg Gangl - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History 13:1-25.
    In this paper I argue that historiography employs causal narrative explanations just as other historical sciences such as evolutionary biology or paleontology do. There is a logic of explanation common to all these sciences that centers on causal explanation of unique and unrepeatable events. The explanandum of historiography can further be understood as mechanism in the sense developed by Stuart Glennan and others in recent years. However, causal explanation is not the only way historiography relates to the past. Arthur Danto (...)
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  25. The problem of anthropocentrism and the human kind of personhood.Bennett Gilbert - forthcoming - Sage Journals: Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    Philosophy & Social Criticism, Ahead of Print. Neither of the seemingly straightforward approaches of retaining the human at the top of the hierarchy of beings and of flattening human personhood solves the question of non-human personhood. But the concept of personhood does have the resources to address this issue, if we take it as a kind of moral agency. The way that humans develop moral agency through their temporality, historicity and community must be mapped onto the personhood of animals, but (...)
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  26. Discontinuity Pragmatically Framed.Jonathan Gorman - forthcoming - New Content is Available for Journal of the Philosophy of History.
    _ Source: _Page Count 22 This is an attempt to discover and clarify the philosophical nature of what Eelco Runia claims to be his new and up-to-date philosophy of history, a programme offered in his 2014 book _Moved by the Past: Discontinuity and Historical Mutation_. His suggestion that his argument is a “dance” is taken seriously, and following an analysis of historical “meaning” and its time-extended nature it is argued that the book’s presentation commits Runia to a conception of meaning (...)
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  27. Native American “Absences”: Cherokee Culture and the Poetry of Philosophy.Joshua M. Hall - forthcoming - Global Conversations.
    In this essay, after a brief decolonial analysis of the concept of “poetry” in Indigenous communities, I will investigate the poetic-philosophical implications of Cherokee culture, more specifically the poetic essence of the Cherokee language, the poetic aspects of Cherokee myth (pre-history) and post-myth (history), and the poetic-philosophical powers of Cherokee ritual. My first section analyzes the poetic essence, structure, special features, and historical context of the Cherokee language, drawing on Ruth Holmes and Betty Sharp Smith’s language textbook, Beginning Cherokee. My (...)
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  28. Dancing with Clio: History, Cultural Studies, Foucault, Phenomenology, and the emergence of Dance Studies as a Disciplinary Practice.Helena Hammond - forthcoming - In Ann R. David, Michael Huxley & Sarah Whatley (eds.), Dance Fields: Staking a claim for Dance Studies in the 21st century. Binsted, Hampshire: Dance Books. pp. 220-248.
    This chapter is particularly concerned with the status of history, dance history especially, within Dance Studies. It asks what has befallen the more recent status of history, once an epistemological support at a critical stage in Dance Studies’s early development, now that Dance Studies is better established, relatively speaking, within the academy. Is history so much scaffolding which, having fulfilled its purpose in enabling the disciplinary plant to take root, is to be dismantled and, if not actually discarded, at least (...)
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  29. Semantic Externalism and the History of Ideas: A Critical Review.Edmund Handby - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History:1-21.
    A recent innovation in the study of methods in the history of ideas is the introduction of elements of semantic externalism from the philosophy of language. Studies that rely on semantic externalism have done so to address particular questions of method in political theorising, including the interpretation of ‘essentially contested concepts’, and the issue of relativism in historical contextualism. In this paper, I critically review the use of semantic externalism, and associated methods such as Kripke’s causal theory of reference, in (...)
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  30. History on the Move: Reimagining Historical Change and the (Im)possibility of Utopia in the 21st Century.Juhan Hellerma - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History:1-14.
    In his meticulously researched and conceptually innovative book, Zoltán Boldizsár Simon aims to capture the historical sensibility emergent during the postwar period broadly conceived, spanning from the 1940s to our present moment. Attending particularly to the debates concerning ecological and technological outlooks, Simon theorizes that our historical horizon is increasingly shaped by the expectations of an unprecedented event that challenges the sustainability of the human subject as known today. Arguing that the concept of unprecedented change can best be explained against (...)
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  31. A New Study of History.Hajo Holborn - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
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  32. Rethinking Historical Aspects.Mariana Imaz-Sheinbaum - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History:1-25.
    Explaining the persistence of multiple interpretations of the same historical event has been an ongoing question in the philosophy of history. In this paper I illustrate two possible answers and argue that neither offers a satisfactory resolution. First of all, the realist view, which holds a metaphysical commitment to the past that precludes it from fully recognizing the legitimacy of variability of historical interpretations. Second, Ankersmit’s representationalism which seeks to overcome the realist view by introducing the notion of aspects. Nevertheless, (...)
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  33. The End of Histories? Review Essay of Alexander Rosenberg’s How History Gets Things Wrong: the Neuroscience of Our Addiction to Stories.Mariana Imaz-Sheinbaum & Paul A. Roth - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History:1-9.
    Alex Rosenberg’s latest book purports to establish that narrative history cannot have any epistemic value. Rosenberg argues not for the replacement of narrative history by something more science-like, but rather the end of histories understood as an account of human doings under a certain description. This review critiques three of his main arguments: 1) narrative history must root its explanations in folk psychology, 2) there are no beliefs nor desires guiding human action, and 3) historical narratives are morally and ethically (...)
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  34. Experience and History: Phenomenological Perspectives and the Historical World_ _, written by David Carr.Martin Jay - forthcoming - New Content is Available for Journal of the Philosophy of History.
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  35. Hegel and historicism.S. Jordan - forthcoming - Hegel-Studien.
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  36. In Remembrance of Charles Beard, Philosopher-Historian.Horace M. Kallen - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
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  37. That History is a Philosophic Art.Horace Meyer Kallen - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
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  38. The Practical Turn.Kellner Hans - forthcoming - New Content is Available for Journal of the Philosophy of History.
    _ Source: _Page Count 8 In _The Practical Past_ Hayden White argues that both history and fiction should be considered “literary writing,” which he defines as writing in which the form becomes part of the content. Both history and realistic fiction wish to be faithful to their referents, but are prevented by their need to employ cultural narrative systems. The “practical past,” distinguished from the historical past by Michael Oakeshott, proves to be the arena in which we choose our pasts, (...)
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  39. Law of nature and history.Jean-Francois Kervegan - forthcoming - Hegel-Studien.
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  40. Relativism in German Idealism, Historicism and Neo-Kantianism.Katherina Kinzel - forthcoming - In Martin Kusch (ed.), Routledge Handbook on Relativism. London: Routladge.
    This chapter traces the development of relativist ideas in nineteenth-century debates about history and historical knowledge. It distinguishes between two contexts in which these ideas first emerged. First, the early-to-mid nineteenth-century encounter between speculative German idealism and professional historiography. Second, the late nineteenth-century debate between hermeneutic philosophy and orthodox Neo-Kantianism. The paper summarizes key differences between these two contexts: in the former, historical ontology and historical methodology formed a unity, in the latter, they came apart. As a result, the idea (...)
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  41. Does Logic Have a History at All?Jens Lemanski - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-23.
    To believe that logic has no history might at first seem peculiar today. But since the early 20th century, this position has been repeatedly conflated with logical monism of Kantian provenance. This logical monism asserts that only one logic is authoritative, thereby rendering all other research in the field marginal and negating the possibility of acknowledging a history of logic. In this paper, I will show how this and many related issues have developed, and that they are founded on only (...)
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  42. The critical theory of Jurgen Habermas.Dan MacIsaac - forthcoming - History and Theory.
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  43. 'This third universal form of the Weltgeist'-Thinking about world history in Hegel's' Verfassungsschrift.H. Maier - forthcoming - Hegel-Studien.
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  44. The ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment in Russia: Adam Smith and Semyon Efimovich Desnitskii on the philosophy of history.Ondrej Marchevský & Sandra Zákutná - forthcoming - Studies in East European Thought:1-16.
    The paper focuses on the mutual interaction as well as the impact of the Scottish Enlightenment on the formation of the Enlightenment in Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great. It focuses on the relationship between the work of Adam Smith and Semyon Efimovich Desnitskii, who, thanks to Desnitskii’s studies at the University of Glasgow, got to know each other as teacher and student. The central point of their interaction is the issues of the philosophy of history based on (...)
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  45. An Historiographical Perspective.David Philip Miller & Sir Joseph Banks - forthcoming - History of Science.
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  46. The Frontier of National Sovereignty.S. Milward Alan, Frances M. B. Lynch, Ruggiero Ranieri, Federico Romero & Vibeke Sorensen - forthcoming - History and Theory.
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  47. The Frontier ofNational Sovereignt3.Alan Milward - forthcoming - History and Theory.
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  48. A “tagarelice” de Macedo eo ensino de História do Brasil.Dislane Zerbinatti Moraes - forthcoming - História.
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  49. Figural Realism and the Politics of Literature: Hayden White and Jacques Rancière Read Erich Auerbach.Jakub Muchowski - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History:1-21.
    Hayden White and Jacques Rancière both drew on the account of the history of European literature offered by Erich Auerbach to construct their own theoretical treatments of historical and literary writing: White conceptualized the figure-fulfillment model, modernist realism, and figural realism, while Rancière critically commented on the undemocratic character of the writings of the Annales school and sought egalitarian moments in Western literature. I will examine White’s and Rancière’s readings of Auerbach and partially compare the two theoretical endeavors. The purpose (...)
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  50. Practical necessity and the fulfilment of the plan of nature in Kant's idea for a universal history.James David Neil - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History.
    I explore the role of practical necessity in Kant’s essay Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Aim. This form of necessity arises on the basis of social and interstate antagonism and Kant appeals to it with the aim of avoiding the introduction of a standpoint that is external to the agents whose attitudes and actions are being described. In connection with the role that Kant accords to practical necessity in the establishment of the legal and political conditions required (...)
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