E.H. Carr and Historical Thought - Essay Example

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The author of this essay "E.H. Carr and Historical Thought" touches upon the ideas concerning history by Carr. According to the text, the extent to which one can give a definitive meaning to the word ‘history’ has ever been an endeavor fraught with controversy.  …
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Download file to see previous pages Though to properly assess the academic value and relevance of his claim, it is first necessary to analyze the broader intellectual context to which Carr sought to make a contribution. As such, it will be necessary to briefly address the very same question he himself posed, for the pragmatic purpose of assessing the accuracy of his claims.
The American historian and political philosopher Allan Bloom, in his cultural jeremiad on the state of university education in the closing decades of the twentieth century, lamented what he saw as the contemptuous antagonism felt for one another by the aforementioned three main divisions of modern academia. According to Bloom:
While both social science and humanities are more or less willingly awed by natural science, they have mutual contempt for one another, the former looking down on the latter as unscientific, the latter regarding the former as a philistine. They do not cooperate. And most important, they occupy much of the same ground. Many of the classic books now a part of the humanities talk about the same things as do social scientists but use different methods and draw different conclusions;... (1987, p. 357)
And yet history does not easily fit into any of these main categories. History, unlike the natural sciences, cannot conduct a controlled experiment because its object of study, being the past, is incapable of being ‘recreated.’ Bloom made note of this general dilemma, that is, the categorization of the work of the historian. History may not, on the other hand, claim to be a social science: its goal is not to predict human action (as is the case in any sort of study of human behavior), but rather to understand past actions (Bloom 1987, pp. 243-380). Thus, in many ways, history enjoys a sort of liminal existence which transcends the natural and social sciences, not to mention the humanities. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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