History and Theory 16 (4):29-52 (1977)

Knowledge, including historical knowledge, is dependent upon the procedure by which it is acquired. Nowell-Smith attempts to drive a logical wedge between the assertion of historical statements and the objects to which they refer. This distinction between assertion and referent, however, does not exist in the practice of history. In historical study there is no way to acquire knowledge except through the construction of theory. The brute sensory data which form an essential part of an understanding of the present are not available to historians. As far as the epistemology of history is concerned, the real past has no influence on historical knowledge. Though truth may be the object of the historical enterprise, it cannot be obtained except through theory, and is, therefore, inseparable from the infrastructure of that enterprise
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DOI 10.2307/2504806
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Robin George Collingwood.Giuseppina D'Oro & James Connelly - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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