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By Aviezer Tucker

The fifty entries during this Companion disguise the most concerns within the philosophies of historiography and heritage, together with traditional historical past and the practices of historians.• Written via a world and multi-disciplinary workforce of experts• A state of the art up-to-date photograph of present examine within the field• a part of the popular Blackwell Companions sequence

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Additional resources for A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy)

Sample text

In historiography, it is not so straightforward or as explicit as looking in a textbook for causal laws that link the data to the objects of interest. The influences are various and sometimes subtle. This raises an important issue about objectivity. Historical evidence must be meaningful to us. It must be interpreted by us. Yet it is supposed to be information from the past. In order to get information from the past we must add some information from the present, and this seems to compromise the objective quality of the evidence.

This is the influence of culture and public society. But historians are also professionals. They are trained and educated, both generally as historians and specifically with the background and expertise on the particular place and period they study. They usually adopt some professional perspective, some theoretical attitude, focusing, for example, on environmental history, or feminist history, or subaltern studies. This is what they wear so as not to be naked in the archives. And by wearing this perspective rather than that, they select, describe, weigh, and organize evidence this way rather than that.

These were far more individuated in the west than in the east, a fact which reflects the castes, centralized governments, and formal behavioral patterns of the Orient. The concept of an immutable nature is accompanied by the absence of any goal or direction, and thus by the absence of history and its meaning: the world does not change, or perhaps just a little; the past does not determine us, it only provides a set of examples. Thus the past and the future lack interest, only the present is decisive – a point which can be connected to those thinkers in both the east and the west who have no interest in the afterlife.

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