The Limits of Historical Knowledge

Philosophy 3 (10):213- (1928)
“ The doubtful story of successive events.” With this contemptuous phrase1 Bernard Bosanquet brushed aside the claim of history to be considered a study deserving the attention of a thoughtful mind. Unsatisfactory in form, because never rising above uncertainty; unsatisfactory in matter, because always concerned with the transitory, the successive, the merely particular as opposed to the universal; a chronicle of small beer, and an untrustworthy chronicle at that. Yet Bosanquet was well read in history; he had taught it as a young man at Oxford, and his first published work had been a translation of a recent German book on the Athenian constitution; he knew that a vast amount of the world's best genius in the last hundred years had been devoted to historical studies; and when, late in life, he asked himself what it came to, that was all he could say
Keywords Collingwood   Philosophy of History
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100017459
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