History and Theory 12 (3):290-307 (1973)

Instrumentalists use history to explain present entities or situations, not to explain an independent past. They incorrectly view historical hypotheses as imaginative reconstructions designed to explain present data. In fact, historical hypotheses do not imply the evidence, the evidence implies the hypotheses. Despite instrumentalist claims, the fact that an historical hypothesis best explains the evidence does not necessarily prove it true. Instrumentalists analogize history to science, but the incompatibility of subject matter and method invalidates the analogy. Scientific hypotheses discuss postulated abstract entities; historical hypotheses discuss common occurrences about which there is much general knowledge. Scientific explanations use laws and theories; historical explanations use events and circumstances
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DOI 10.2307/2504718
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