New Contributions to the Philosophy of History
Insights developed in the past two decades by philosophers of the social sciences can serve to enrich the challenging intellectual tasks of conceptualizing, investigating, and representing the human past. Likewise, intimate engagement with the writings of historians can deepen philosophers’ understanding of the task of knowing the past. This volume brings these perspectives together and considers fundamental questions, such as: What is historical causation? What is a large historical structure? How can we best conceptualize “mentalities” and “identities”? What is involved in understanding the subjectivity of historical actors? What is involved in arriving at an economic history of a large region? How are actions and outcomes related? The arguments touch upon a wide range of historical topics -- the Chinese and French Revolutions, the extension of railroads in the nineteenth century, and the development of agriculture in medieval China.
Applies the perspective of “philosophy of the special sciences” to problems in historical researchExamines the thinking and reasoning of some of today’s most talented and innovative historiansContains a wealth of interesting examples of historical explanation