Our Knowledge of the Past: A Philosophy of Historiography
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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1 Consensus and Historiographic Knowledge
2 The History of Knowledge of History
3 The Theory of Scientific Historiography
4 Historiographic Opinion
5 Historiographic Explanation
6 The Limits of Historiographic Knowledge
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analysis Annales school argued Bayesian best explanation biases biblical criticism causal chains century cladistic claimed cognitive values common cause hypotheses comparative linguistics competing complex concepts confirmed connect consensus on beliefs consider consilience contemporary context contingent counterfactual culture descriptions of events determined documents economic empirical epistemic epistemic perspective evolutionary evolutionary biology example explanations of descriptions fidelity given Goldstein grand scope historians historical events historiog historiographic hypotheses historiographic interpretations historiographic knowledge historiographic theories human inconsistent independent Indo-European languages infer knowledge hypothesis knowledge of history Kosso languages likelihood Marxist Murphey mutation narrative Nazism paradigm past philosophy of historiography philosophy of history philosophy of science political possible prior probability properties Ranke Ranke’s relation relevant research program revolution schools scientific historiography scientists separate causes share similar Skocpol social sciences sources species texts textual critics theories and methods tion toriography tradition uncoerced underdetermined uniquely heterogeneous vague theories variational group