Postnarrativism, Historiographical Evaluation, and Truth

Journal of the Philosophy of History 15 (1):106-124 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The problem of historiographical evaluation is simply this: By what evaluative criteria might we say that certain works of historiography are better than others? One recently proposed solution to this problem comes by way of Kuukkanen’s postnarrativist philosophy of historiography.1 Kuukkanen argues that because many historiographically interesting statements lack truth-values, we cannot evaluate historiographical claims on a truth-functional basis. In the place of truth, Kuukkanen suggests that we evaluate historiographical claims in terms of justification. The problem with this proposal, as I will argue here, is that it isn’t at all clear what it means for a neither-true-nor-false claim to be justified. Moreover, this proposal also runs into trouble with the factivity of knowledge. The solution I propose here might be called “two-valued” postnarrativism, which retains Kuukkanen’s framework, except with a stricter ontology devoid of neither-true-nor-false historiographical statements. In arguing for this approach to historiographical evaluation, this paper will be structured in the following way: First, I’ll describe Kuukkanen’s postnarrativism in more detail, focusing especially on his account of historiographical evaluation. Next, I’ll introduce two problems that accompany this account, one originating from the factivity of knowledge and the other from trying to divorce justification from the concept of truth. Finally, I argue that not only might these problems be solved by simply committing to all historiographical claims being either true or false, but that Kuukkanen’s account is especially amenable to this.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,271

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

On the Very Possibility of Historiography.Stephen Boulter - 2017 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 11 (2):196-220.
On the Very Possibility of Historiography.Stephen Boulter - forthcoming - New Content is Available for Journal of the Philosophy of History.
An Essay In The Aid Of Writing History: Fictions Of Historiography.Sol Cohen - 2004 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 23 (5):317-332.
Truth and Argument Evaluation.Patrick Bondy - 2010 - Informal Logic 30 (2):142-158.
Can a Historian of Science Be a Scientific Realist?Theodore Arabatzis - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 68 (S3):S531-S541.
Can a historian of science be a scientific realist?Theodore Arabatzis - 2001 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S531-.
Historiography, Philosophy of History and the Historical Turn in Analytic Philosophy.Michael Beaney - forthcoming - New Content is Available for Journal of the Philosophy of History.
Nel flusso della storiografia.Renato G. Mazzolini - 2001 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 23 (1):39 - 49.
Does Justification Aim at Truth?Peter J. Graham - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):51-72.
Knowledge without Truth.Priyedarshi Jetli - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 53:97-103.


Added to PP

47 (#326,513)

6 months
8 (#317,415)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Adam Michael Bricker
University of Turku

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references