Our Knowledge of the Past: A Philosophy of Historiography

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 26, 2004 - Philosophy
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How do historians, comparative linguists, biblical and textual critics and evolutionary biologists establish beliefs about the past? How do they know the past? This book presents a philosophical analysis of the disciplines that offer scientific knowledge of the past. Using the analytic tools of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science the book covers such topics as evidence, theory, methodology, explanation, determination and underdetermination, coincidence, contingency and counterfactuals in historiography. Aviezer Tucker's central claim is that historiography as a scientific discipline should be thought of as an effort to explain the evidence of past events. He also emphasizes the similarity between historiographic methodology to Darwinian evolutionary biology. This is an important, fresh approach to historiography and will be read by philosophers, historians and social scientists interested in the methodological foundations of their disciplines.
 

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Contents

1 Consensus and Historiographic Knowledge
23
2 The History of Knowledge of History
46
3 The Theory of Scientific Historiography
92
4 Historiographic Opinion
141
5 Historiographic Explanation
185
6 The Limits of Historiographic Knowledge
208
Historiography and History
254
References
263
Notes
279
Index
287
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