Ethics and Method

History and Theory 43 (4):61-83 (2004)
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Historical method rests on the common-denominator values that characterize modernity. Postmodernity challenges those values across the range of practice and with them the very foundations of historical explanation. Responding to this challenge is central to the ethics of history at the present time. An adequate response requires at least three things summarized here: a clear understanding of the cultural function of history as one of the representational methods characterizing modernity; a definition of postmodernity and its challenges that is less trivial than those currently prevailing in North America; and even some experimental effort to explore some of the positive possibilities of the postmodern challenge, including alternative uses for “the past.”



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