New post at Cliopatria: how to deal with excessive postmodernism

Just a notice that after some deliberation I have put something new up at Cliopatria, swinging once more to the attack against useless postmodernist critique of factual knowledge. Readers to whom that school of thought is familiar may be annoyed at how unenlightened I am; regular readers here may be surprised how far towards those former readers I go this time. I’d be pleased if you had a look, anyway.


4 responses to “New post at Cliopatria: how to deal with excessive postmodernism

  1. Have you read/used Tosh’s the pursuit of History? It’s very useful for going over this stuff. Me, every time this comes up, I have to wonder why we can’t just say, “yeah, we’re people and we tend to veer towards the stuff we are interested in, which probably colours the picture we draw. But as long as we are including all of the evidence we can find, and pointing out counter-arguments, etc., there seems to be some middle ground. It may not be Historical Truth, but it also isn’t just a bunch of ideas we pulled out of thin air. And that’s ok, because part of the joy of history is arguing about the evidence.”

    Actually, there is some of this in the comments on the Judith Bennett post at my place, re whether we can actually write history that isn’t political.

  2. Along with Tosh, I’d also add E. H. Carr, ‘What is history?’ whose chapter on ‘The historian and his facts’ is again a good clear defence of moderate relativism (and who also references Carl Becker). These ideas aren’t new: I’ve got the 2nd edition of Carr from 1987, but the first edition came out in 1961.

    My main rule of thumb nowadays is that I don’t take discussions of how to do history seriously by anyone who isn’t actually practicing history. If all someone does is explain how one should (or should not do)history, without providing their own extended examples of how they do it, I trust them about as much as an ‘expert’ on surgery who hasn’t done an operation in therty years.

  3. RaiulBaztepo

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

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