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Justifying Historical Descriptions : Cambridge Studies in Philosophy - Christopher Behan McCullagh

Justifying Historical Descriptions

Cambridge Studies in Philosophy

Paperback Published: 24th December 1984
ISBN: 9780521318303
Number Of Pages: 264

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In common with history, all the social sciences crucially rely on descriptions of the past for their evidence. But when, if ever, is it reasonable to regard such descriptions as true? This book attempts to establish the conditions which warrant belief in historical descriptions. It does so in a nontechnical way, analysing numerous illustrations of the different kinds of argument about the past employed by historians and others. The author concludes that no historical description can be finally proved, and that we are only ever justified in believing them for, certain practical purposes. This central question has not been addressed in such a thorough and systematic manner before. It draws on recent philosophy of history and will interest philosophers. But the wealth of material and accessibility of the presentation will also make it very valuable for historians and other social scientists concerned with the logic of their disciplines.

Preface
Introduction: truth and justification
Justifying singular descriptions: arguments to the best explanation
Justifying singular descriptions: statistical inferences
Justifying singular descriptions: arguments from criteria and arguments from analogy
Some common inferences in history
Historical generalizations
Justifying singular causal judgements in history
Judgements of 'the most significant cause' in history
Epilogue: truth and interpretation in history
Bibliography
Indices
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521318303
ISBN-10: 0521318300
Series: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 264
Published: 24th December 1984
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.39