History Is Not An Exact Science Essay

History Is Not An Exact Science Essay

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Some define History as science due to its approach on analysing facts and the use of all resources in the aim of finding an answer while others claim it is merely an artistic study of the ages. J.B Bury claimed “History is a science, no more and no less”, in a time just after dramatic changes had been made to the approach of analgising History as he represented many people in the Victorian generation and their want in a more factual basis of history. Throughout the nineteenth century we saw calls from the people for a more accurate understanding of the past. Jared Diamond claims historians “receive little training in acknowledged sciences and their methodologies.” Many schools and philosophers are of the opinion that history is not a science, due to its lack of ability to provide definite answers. However many argue there are many similar methodologies used by both practices, along with similar end goals of perhaps learning from past mistakes to counteract future and current problems . It will be difficult to come with a definite answer in this essay whether history is a science as it has been debated by some of the top historians of our century such as Edward Carr. By using sources from Carr and other top philosophers and historians I will aim to outline the meaning of history and science, the similarities in the two, along with the differences. I will also outline the fine line between the subjects as part of my analysis in an aim to come up with as structured of an answer as possible on a very complex topic of debate.

To successfully analyses whether History is a science, or more, or less than we must decide on an accurate approach to the term science. Mikael Karlsson stated in a lecture to the University of Genova that...

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... and Social Theory (Cambridge, 1992
Carr, Edward. ‘What is History?’. (Suffolk, 1987)
Cureo, Ernest. ‘Science and History’. (New York, 1963)
Dovring, Folke. ‘History as a Social Science’. (The Hague, 1960)
Gaddis, John Lewis “The Landscape of History” (Oxford, 2002)
Goodheart, Eugene. Philosophy and Literature, Is History a Science Volume 29, Number 2, (October 2005)
Haskell,Fain. History and Theory History as Science” vol 9 (1970) p. 154-173
Shafer. Boyd C. Pacific Historical Review, History, not art, not science but history. Vol. 29, No. 2 (May, 1960) pp. 159-170
Teggart F.J., Theory and Processes of History (Berkeley,1960),
Tosh, Josh & Lang, Sean. ‘The Pursuit of History’. (Dorchester, 2006)
Nasson, Bill. History: The meaning and role of history in human development , accessed 26/12/2013 http://www.eolss.net/sample-chapters/c04/e6-22-00-00.pdf

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