Bernard Bosanquet’s Critique of Historical Knowledge and Inquiry

Bradley Studies 6 (1):92-103 (2000)
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Abstract

1. Bosanquet, who relished paradox, does not disappoint us about history. The late nineteenth century was a golden age of historical inquiry. Historians — Ernst Curtius, J.G. Droysen, Theodor Mommsen in Germany, William Stubbs, E.A. Freeman and F.W. Maitland in England, Jules Michelet and others in France — were establishing history as a credible and esteemed academic discipline. This increasing respectability of the practice of history was matched by a sophisticated theorisation of history, a theorisation which took two directions. On the one hand were Marx’s brilliant and bewitching historical projections. On the other the logic and methodology of history as an autonomously valid form of knowledge and inquiry were being elaborated. This last was largely a process in which the hermeneutic inquiries of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Droysen and Wilhelm von Humboldt came to fruition in the work of such writers as Philip August Boeckh, Wilhelm Dilthey and — not to forget The Presuppositions of Critical History — our own F.H. Bradley.

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