The Historiography and Causation

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TheHistoriography and Causation

ByStudent Name’s

Knowledgeof History and Views of Various Historians

Ingeneral terms, historiography refers to the methods that historiansemploy in studying developing history that covers a particular topic.It highlights the specific sources, techniques and theoreticalapproaches used in exploring the topic of concern. The researchquestions are seen to take several routes given the changinginterests of historians over time. Changes have occurred fromtraditional diplomatic, economic and political part of history with amove towards modern approaches more especially in the social andcultural issues. This study engages in the giving a background onhistory and landscape, highlighting the contributions of varioushistorians towards history and causations as well as outliningreasons for reflecting on the causations.

Accordingto Carr, drawing from the Victorian myth as well as from Nietzsche toHerodotus, he refers to history as a continuous dialogue based in thepast1.Carr further argues that facts presented for history are only thosethat have been scrutinized by historians. Amongst the millions thathave crossed the Rubicon, only Caesar`s crossing is consideredhistorically important2.Car states, “Itis the historian who has decided for his own reasons that Caesar`scrossing of that petty stream, the Rubicon, is a fact of history,whereas the crossings of the Rubicon by millions of other peoplebefore or since interests nobody at all3.”Thefacts presented as history are therefore those that historians haveinfluenced by their interpretative standards. His book refers to thestudy of history as the study of historiography.

Carrdiscusses history in the view of facts, individuals and society, thebias of historians, science and more so the moral judgment inhistory4. The first chapter focuses on the exploration of the usage ofhistorical facts by the historians. In the 19th century, westernhistorians apprehended to an experiential, positivist view of theworld that highlighted and rotated around historical events that sawhistory as a collection of data that would give forth an objectiveimage of an authentic past without an interference of critical humanfaculties5.

Accordingto Carr, the information collected will, therefore, reflect therecent independent of human ideas6.He further argues that the view of independent look into the past isflawed to be driven by individuals who take history to be representedonly a few facts they choose. Carr mostly disagrees with thesehistorians who adamantly selectively picks few points and make themhistorical. Carr states, “But,even on this bold and not very plausible assumption, our argument atonce runs into the difficulty that not all facts about the past arehistorical facts, or are treated as such by the historian7.”He goes ahead to highlight a good example to prove his point. Thatmillions of humans having crossed the Rubicon River in NortheasternItaly, historians largely ignored the many people only focusing onJulius Caesarin 49 BCE as worthy significant part of a historicalfact8.Self-interests and biases drove it. Carr fought for documentation ofan objective history that proved difficult.

Inthe 20th century, there continued to emerge many other non-empiricalhistorians. They too supported Carr in his arguments9.They found it faulty for historical facts being subjective. As Carroutlines their point of view, he criticizes the move assumed byCollingwood, one of the non-empirical supporters for holding the factthat no one`s interpretation of history can be better than the rest10.Carr adds that History ought to take a middle ground. The middleground encompasses a mutual relationship between the historian andthe evidence that they give. He further observes that what thehistorian does is getting continuously engaged in manipulating hisfacts to suit their elucidation and their explanation to auger withtheir facts. In so doing, the past and the present are placed forconsideration. Carr concludes that history by stating that history,&quotis a continuous process of interaction taking place between thehistorian and his facts and also an unending dialogue between thepast and the present&quot11. Reference to the science of history by historians is necessary.

JohnLewis Gaddis is one of the world`s premier historians of the cold warthat gives clarity to issues of nature of history and itsrelationship with science12.In his career, while building on the ideas of Marc Bloch and Carr, hebrings out an authoritative yet concise historical accounts. Gaddisis focused on philosophical ideas that historians encounter in theirfield13.It is exhilarating to note the similarities and the differencesbetween history and the natural sciences he comes up with. Theexpectation of such comparison would be the question of how historyacts as a science, however Gaddis explores the question of sciencebeing historical. Instead of setting for the laboratoryexperimentation, he reckons for the standard of Virtual replicabilityand the applicability of natural sciences like geology as well aspaleontology for the past.

Gaddisstates that, “Toanswer this question,&nbspletme return&nbsptothe&nbspnaturalsciences,&nbspbutthis time&nbsptotheoneslike astronomy, geology…..because of their scope, they cannotconfine themselves to laboratories14.”andWineburg, on the other hand, seems interested in an entirelydifferent line of thought. He highlights the idea of teaching historyas a learning subject in American high schools15.He further observes that history has been ignored leading to poorteaching. He adds that a deeper understanding of history issignificant, and it can be well understood by seeking to know itsimportance and reasons behind its teaching in schools

Thedifferences between the two are identifiable especially in theirquestioning. Nevertheless, they both have a ground particularly intheir endeavor to bring out a clearer understanding of history. Onone hand Gaddis tries to make his point about history and naturalsciences16.He points out that while making judicial judgments on the collectedand analyzed evidence, moral judgment by the historians is of greatimportance however it is a discipline not found in natural sciences.On the other hand, Wineburg sophisticated manner of historicalunderstanding needs a comparison of the present and the past that isquite challenging given the fact that a current view of the past isrequired17.

Regardingboth of their ideas, one similarity of their points of view is clear.They both see maturity as key in determining a valuable judgmentregarding the past. Maturity, in this case, helps in bringingequilibrium to contending points of view and claims18.Concerning the idea of Wineburg of analysis high school students, andtheir ignorance about the past, he argues that students who seemwell-informed about the past, by coming up with elaborate and rigidinterpretations should be resisted19.He further observes that history ought to be analyzed deeply and addsthat the delicate balance of the analysis is what students areignorant of.

Gaddisexplains historical awareness as a balancing act and itsinterrelations with maturity. The perception involves recognition ofthe surrounding. The consciousness of the surrounding makes oneequally as does maturity with the ability to differentiate betweenwhat is important and the less important. A historian ought to find away of navigating the equally entangling sides. The opposing ideas ofthe two finally marry at the end, with points of view that make up anexcellent history hand how to produce it. Understanding of history isconfusing to the inexperienced and efforts to seek interpretationoften lead to more misunderstanding20.The insights of the three explored historians can, however, enhance aclear understanding of history and landscape while outlining reasonsthat lead to misunderstanding.

Argumentsof Historians on Causation

Historicaltheorists always contend with the issue of historical relativism.Historical facts are seen to be highly influenced in writing by thefact that historians exert their points of view and opinions tohistory. Explaining historical knowledge using the presentcontemporary understanding is an issue of concern. Rankecontributesto the growth and the understanding of historical theory by claimingthe writing of history as it was. However, this approach to causationdid not follow the logical proceadure of his approach21.The critical methods are unequal and influenced by historians. Hefurther asserts the difficulty that has been faced in trying tounderstand history objectively rather than subjectively22.Critical history is hence all about unearthing what is contentiousand unknown. Stern further argues that in the process of discovery,the earlier accepted and embraced perspectives and opinions ofhistorians should be replaced with the data collected giving insightsand evidence. The objective view of the past will, however, beassociated with mistaken and misleading points of view of the worlddepending on the question.

Historianshave employed a set of procedures and approaches in affirming thepossibility of objective historical knowledge. Thomas Carlyle agreedto the fact that history was a continous work that continued to builda biography, such as that of the past facts and events23.He, however, asserts the need for objectivity in the look into thepast. The correctness of historical view is attached to the rightcritical approaches and deductions. Karl Heussi holds that thephilosophical standpoints have no effect on the critical approachesbut rather on the manner in history was made. He further argues thatorganization of historical material is not encompassed in the eventsrather in the historian`s mind and therefore, various historians whofocus on the same facts come to the same conclusions and realorganization.

RudolfBultmann also holds that historians, as well as writers of historicalmaterial, look at matters and issues differently, however, focusingon the same reality24.Historians are usually satisfied in the manner in which they presenthistory without bothering about the natural history of the historicalfacts. The facts and knowledge are arrived at by exploration ofcommon understanding of the human beings. The devised procedures andapproaches are too close to be observed objectively and analyzedwithout the interference of own opinions and points of view.According to Leopold Von Ranke, specialized efforts are required forobjective analysis25.Historians have the urge to do more than just write history. Theywant to teach and protect their work against any possible errors.

Carrsays that society influences approaches of historians and theinterpretation of the historical knowledge26. He looks at the way in which an individual is affected by thesociety from birth. It gives a clear understanding that every humanbeing is socially controlled. He adds that classical liberalism fromthe western developed the idea that persons are raised differentlyfrom the society. He calls it an unavoidable by-product that emergedwith civilization, however, sees it as logically incapacitated.Individuals are allocated and their beings influenced by the societyand the environment in which they are brought up. So are historians,whose interpretation is embedded in the societal view of the past. Hegives an example of George Grote, an English historian who lived from1794-187127.

Groteand the era of enlightenment depicted the ancient Athenian democracyin the history of Greece28.He brought into view the aspirations of British middle class who wereprogressing politically. He hence argues that the surrounding one isbrought up mainly affects an individual and one cannot free from thelimitations contended by the society and hence little room forimpacting the past. In drawing a boundary between the societalinfluence on individuals, and those that overcame the power to impacton the history, Carr names Oliver Cromwell as well as Vladimir Leninas great historians who shaped the social forces29.Otto Von Bismarck and Napoleon are given as individual who was takenby social forces and had no control over. As a historian, Carrpossessed the willingness to open a chance to people for a role inhistory30.Focus on individuals for history was a disfavor to the past. Heplaced blame on the historians who viewed, for example, the RussianRevolution primarily on an emperor, Nicholas II instead of viewing itas an impact of the entire social forces31.

Stillon the causations of history, Carr sees it as a constitution ofscience and morality32. He saw history as a social science and less of an art as claimed byother historians. He further points out some objections in dispute ofhistory as an art. He explains each of which in details. Firstly, heidentifies the idea that science lays its focus on general theorieswhile history takes into cover particular aspects of the past as wellas its precise nature. The second reason he gives is the idea thathistory cannot teach lessons however he contradicts himself on thesame standpoint later in the chapter in his book, What is history33. He also adds a third point that historians, being selective theirwork encompasses numerous setbacks as it is based on biases. Hefurther asserts that history cannot give a clear outline of how thefuture will be and finally that history is deeply rooted in religiousissues as well as biases34.

Carris seen to give the opposite of his objections in explaining Scienceand history. Earlier in his work, he is seen, sharply rising againsthistorians who base their arguments on empirical data while allowingtheir opinions to influence their writings in history35.In this third chapter, however, he talks about history as science andhow it cannot rather entirely fit to be as science at the same timeas well as emphasizing that morality should not be part of historysince the view of individuals from the past is different with theapplication of the contemporary society36.

PaulBoyer concerns himself with religious issues and the accurate historyof the American People while Stephen Nissenbaum deals with thehistory of the American through to the 19th century37.In Salem Possessed, they engage in a demonstration of the connectionthat exists between the social and economic issues as well as theallegations of witchcraft in the village. The true happenings in thetownship of Salem regarding the Witch trials are treated as myths andgiven a distortion that brings a barrier that confuses facts forfiction38.It makes it difficult to depend on the points of view of individualsto give an exact account of happenings for the avoidance of biases.

Thereal incidents about witchcraft have taken an opposite direction withthe coming of new writings that do not focus on history. Historiansare seen to write for their self-interests thus disfiguring factsproviding tales for the reader as history. Salem Possessed gives anoutline of the history of Salem Village, putting into considerationprimary sources whether published or not in discussing the causes ofallegations, arrests, and Trials39.The causes of the terrible happenings are brought out with a focus onthe social and the past of the village.

Reasonsfor reflection on causations

Thestudy of history is one that focuses on the causes. An excellentstudent of history or rather a great historian is one that seeks toknow the reasons for a given standpoint or opinion on a particularknowledge. Herodotus, better known as the father of history assertsthat his purpose in writing and engaging in history is to enhancememory of the actions and festivities that the Greek as well as thebarbarians engaged in40.He further adds that participating in their history helps him outlinethe reasons that led to their fighting. In the eighteenth century,there rose foundations of contemporary historiography.

Montesquieuwhile focusing on that which resulted in the greatness of the Romansas well as their rise and fall, he began by outlining that therealways is the natural causes that constitute the moral and thephysical that operate in every authority. Everything that is talkedabout and represented in Carr`s book gives way to the objects of thesaid history. Esprit des are poised about the idea, and later itemerged that human actions are directed and managed by given rules andregulations dictated by nature of the surrounding41.Much later after several years, historians and philosophers laboredin organizing historical material of human that enabled them to comeup with that which led to the emergence of the historical events andthe rules and regulations that managed them.

Attimes the historians imagined that the rules and the regulations werephysical, other times biologically determined or sometimesmetaphysical42.The thinking had gained a vast ground into the economic and even thepsychological dimension. It was widely accepted nevertheless thathistory consists events and happenings of the past that are organizedsequentially regarding causes and effects. Dicey considers thecauses and impacts as explanation versus interpretation43.Others give a distinction between the mechanical, biological,psychological causes and identify lead historical factors asindependent44.

Inoutlining the causes of a particular event, from a historianapproach, some objects are assigned to the event. Buckle and Droysenassert that individuals ought to always be warned of the causes aswell as the surrounding factors that have a contribution over thesame45.A hierarchy of objectives hence yields a better explanation of thehappenings compared to a single cause. The historian is regarded bythe ability to give forth causes. Gibbon attributes the fall of theRoman Empire to the victory of barbarism and religion46.In the 19th century, the upcoming of the British power and success isattributed to political phenomenon exemplifying the constitutionalfreedom47.

Thetwo points of view are regarded partial and outdated since thecurrent view of the involvement of economic causes. Carr observesthat historians are primarily concerned with giving reasons that leadto the occurrence of events and not mislead readers by creating theiroccurrences and justifying them48. Accounts of the past are seen as a representation of causes andeffects of happenings. He further asserts that historians ought todig into rational and logical reasons for happenings rather thanblaming them on incidences and chances. He outlines some grounds inthe book in illustrating that all that occurs is for a reason.

Gaddisasserts that studying history gives a brilliant way of looking at thehistorian`s techniques and approaches as well as laying a firmfoundation and understanding for historical consciousness for the newexplanation49.The approaches and the techniques give an insight on the historicalmatter. He points out that historical approach is more sophisticatedcompared to the knowledge of most historians, it requiresintellectual insight in explanation. Like geographers makingdrawings and planning the landscapes, historians also ought to have aclear picture and image of the past events and their causes50.That way, the learners have a practical experience of history. Informulating the explanations and candid interpretations, historiansare equipped with skills, techniques of artists, cartographers,paleontologists as well as evolutionary biologists.

Thehistorical approaches in many ways correspond the complexity of thenew sciences, its confusion, and its critics. Gaddis explores historyregarding social sciences where free variables conflict with staticsystems51.Understanding the landscape of history is significant for thehistorians in focusing on the past in using the contemporary modernapproaches that are important in giving an objective view of the pastwith minimal biases. To do this, Gaddis recomends, “You’d insteadchange only a single variable at a time while keeping the othersconstant52.”

TheLandscape of History identifies science as clean and a tidyunderstanding of the past which is largely withdrawn from thepersonal engagements. Just like Bloch and Carr, Gaddis sees scienceas an aid to reaching out to the world of technology53.Historians identify it as the association as a function of the other. Historians are hence seen so much engaging in writing about thenature of natural sciences in so much as the humanities. He furtherargues that application of technology in various fields willstrengthen the connection and relationship between past of the humanevents and the natural history of the works of Herodotus and E. O.Wilson54.

Theproponents of the historical theories understand that there is agreat understanding when an individual gets to know the causation ofthe history. The agreement is a source of insight into the historysince it is not only theoretical but also practical55.The doubts on the matter are countered as people have the proves onthe causes of the history. The understanding gives a precise pictureof the matter and that way the historians can explain the matter toothers even when they had not experienced it directly. The writers ofthe history have the reference points and proofs that their pointsare not artistically. The originality of history counts in making itunderstood by learners and general masses.

Bibliography

Carr,Edward Hallett. 1961. Whatis history?Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

Boyer,Paul S., and Stephen Nissenbaum. 1974. Salempossessed the social origins of the witchcraft.Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Gaddis,John Lewis. 2004. Thelandscape of history on how historians map the past.Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

Stern,Fritz Richard. 1970. The varietiesof history as from Voltaire to the present.London: Macmillan.

1 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

2 Ibid 1

3 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, p11

4 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

5 Ibid 4.

6 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

7 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, p10

8 Ibid 7.

9 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

10 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

11 Ibid 11

12 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

13 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

14 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press, pp 60

15 Boyer, Paul S., and Stephen Nissenbaum. 1974. Salem possessed the social origins of the witchcraft. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

16 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

17 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

18 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

19 Boyer, Paul S., and Stephen Nissenbaum. 1974. Salem possessed the social origins of the witchcraft. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

20 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

21 Ranke, Leopold von Ranke. THE IDEAL OF UNIVERSAL HISTORY: Leopold von Ranke, in Stern, Fritz Richard. 1970. The varieties of history as from Voltaire to the present. New York : Vintage Books, 1973, P55

22 Ibid 22

23 Carlyle, Thomas, HISTORY AS BIOGRAPHY:&nbspThomas Carlyle, in Stern, Fritz Richard. 1970. The varieties of history as from Voltaire to the present. New York : Vintage Books, 1973. P 91

24 Boyer, Paul S., and Stephen Nissenbaum. 1974. Salem possessed the social origins of the witchcraft. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

25 Ranke, Leopold von Ranke. THE IDEAL OF UNIVERSAL HISTORY: Leopold von Ranke, in Stern, Fritz Richard. 1970. The varieties of history as from Voltaire to the present. New York: Vintage Books, 1973, p55.

26 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

27 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

28 Ranke, Leopold von Ranke. THE IDEAL OF UNIVERSAL HISTORY: Leopold von Ranke, in Stern, Fritz Richard. 1970. The varieties of history as from Voltaire to the present. New York : Vintage Books, 1973

29 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

30 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

31 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

32 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

33 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

34 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

35 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

36 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

37 Boyer, Paul S., and Stephen Nissenbaum. 1974. Salem possessed the social origins of the witchcraft. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

38 Boyer, Paul S., and Stephen Nissenbaum. 1974. Salem possessed the social origins of the witchcraft. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

39 Boyer, Paul S., and Stephen Nissenbaum. 1974. Salem possessed the social origins of the witchcraft. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

40 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

41 Buckle, Thomas and Droysen, Johann, POSITIVISTIC HISTORY AND ITS CRITCS, in Stern, Fritz Richard. 1970. The varieties of history as from Voltaire to the present. New York : Vintage Books, 1973

42 Buckle, Thomas and Droysen, Johann, POSITIVISTIC HISTORY AND ITS CRITCS, in Stern, Fritz Richard. 1970. The varieties of history as from Voltaire to the present. New York : Vintage Books, 1973

43 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

44 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

45 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

46 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

47 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

48 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

49 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

50 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

51 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

52 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press, p101

53 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

54 Gaddis, John Lewis. 2004. The landscape of history on how historians map the past. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

55 Carr, Edward Hallett. 1961. What is history? Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

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