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Historical Knowledge, Historical Error : A Contemporary Guide to Practice - Allan Megill

Historical Knowledge, Historical Error

A Contemporary Guide to Practice

Paperback Published: 1st January 2007
ISBN: 9780226518305
Number Of Pages: 304

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In the past thirty years, historians have broadened the scope of their discipline to include many previously neglected topics and perspectives. They have chronicled language, madness, gender, and sexuality and have experimented with new forms of presentation. They have turned to the histories of non-Western peoples and to the troubled relations between "the West" and the rest. Allan Megill welcomes these developments, but he also suggests that there is now confusion among historians about what counts as a justified account of the past.
In "Historical Knowledge, Historical Error," Megill dispels some of the confusion. Here, he discusses issues of narrative, objectivity, and memory. He attacks what he sees as irresponsible uses of evidence while accepting the art of speculation, which incomplete evidence forces upon historians. Along the way, he offers succinct accounts of the epistemological road historians have traveled from Herodotus and Thucydides through Leopold von Ranke and Alexis de Tocqueville, and on to Hayden White, Natalie Zemon Davis, and Lynn Hunt.

Industry Reviews

"Historical Knowledge, Historical Error represents a major and much-needed intervention in the debates that have engaged historians and philosophers of history in the last two or three decades.... Megill's argument deserves attention from everybody who wonders about where the discipline of history might be headed once the dust has settled on the tired debates over objectivity versus relativist skepticism." - Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago"

Introduction: The Need for Historical Epistemology
History with Memory, History without Memory
Memory versus History
History and the Present
Conflicting Attitudes toward the Past History's Legitimate Roles
History, Memory, Identity
Identity and the Memory Wave
Identity, Memory, and Historical Understanding History, Memory, and the Unknown
Narrative and Knowledge
Does Narrative Have a Cognitive Value of Its Own?
The "Crisis" of Narrative
The Epistemological Limits of Narrative
Narrative and the Four Tasks of History-Writing Explanation and Description
Narrative and Braudel's Mediterranean
The Four Tasks of History-Writing
Objectivity and Speculation
Objectivity for Historians
Objectivity and Commitment
Defining Objectivity
A Case Study in Historical Epistemology: What Did the Neighbors Know about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings?
A Disputed Case
Inference to the Best Explanation Thagard's Three Criteria
A Fourth Criterion
Inferring the Relationship
The Case for Our Alternative Account
Counterfactual History: On Niall Ferguson's Virtual History and Similar Works
Fragmentation and the Future of Historiography: On Peter Novick's That Noble Dream
"Grand Narrative" and the Discipline of History
Four Ideal-Typical Attitudes toward the Overall Coherence of History
Four Postulates Suggested by the Preceding Account
Coherence and Incoherence in Historical Studies: From the Annales School to the New Cultural History
The Annales School and the Problem of Coherence
The Annales School: From Convergence to Multiplicity
Coherence as a Willed Commitment
Conclusion: Against Current Fashion
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226518305
ISBN-10: 0226518302
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st January 2007
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.7 x 15.3  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.41
Edition Type: New edition

Earn 116 Qantas Points
on this Book