Values, Objectivity, and Explanations in Historiography

Professor i historie og instituttleiar ved IAKH, Tor Egil Førland, står bak publikasjon som handsamar historiefaglege kjernespørsmål.

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Forsidefoto: Routledge

I boka Values, Objectivity, and Explanations in Historiography rettar Tor Egil Førland søkelyset mot to eviggrøne problemstillingar innanfor historiefagleg teori og metode. Den eine rører ved diskusjonen om historikarens verdisyn og mogleiken for objektivitet. Den andre dreier seg om historiefagets forklaringsmodellar. Boka er gjeve ut på Routledge og er ein del av serien Routledge Approaches to History

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Bringing sophisticated philosophy to bear on real-life historiography, Values, Objectivity, and Explanation in Historiography rekindles and invigorates the debate on two perennials in the theory and methodology of history. One is the tension between historians' values and the ideal—or illusion—of objective historiography. The other is historical explanation.

The point of departure for the treatment of values and objectivity is an exceptionally heated debate on Cold War historiography in Denmark, involving not only historians but also the political parties, the national newspapers, and the courts. The in-depth analysis that follows concludes that historians can produce accounts that deserve the label "objective," even though their descriptions are tinged by ineluctable epistemic instability. A separate chapter dissects the postmodern notion of situated truths.

The second part of the book proffers a new take on historical explanation. It is based on the notion of the ideal explanatory text, which allows for not only causal—including intentional—but also nomological, structural, and functional explanations. The approach, which can accommodate narrative explanations driven by causal plots, is ecumenical but not all-encompassing. Emergent social properties and supernatural entities are excluded from the ideal explanatory text, making scientific historiography methodologically individualistic—albeit with room for explanations at higher levels when pragmatically justified—and atheist.

Publisert 18. okt. 2017 12:00 - Sist endret 13. feb. 2018 15:29