Philosophers of history write many interesting books. This could be said to be the message of this issue. For a while, we have accumulated reviews and the time has come to publish more of them together. Since 2017, Journal of the Philosophy of History has accepted texts about books under two categories: review article and book review. A text of the latter kind is typically relatively short, four or five pages long, and focuses on the content of the book under review in order to introduce it to the readers.
When I was around 6 years old, I fell in love with history1. There were momentous events taking place all around me at that time but they did not spawn my interest in history. I have no memory to speak of about the implosion of the Soviet Union and the end of the Eastern Bloc or the Yugoslav Wars that were raging only 50 kilometers south of my Austrian home.
Oulu University’s Centre for the Philosophical Study of History has posted, as the first of its Scholars in Conversation series, an interview with Prof. Herman Paul (University of Leiden) by Prof. Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKHF18rPemQ.
Dear Marie Curie, you had an incredible and incredibly difficult life. It is great that you went down in the history of science. After and during all kinds of challenges, you still managed to conduct research. Nobody needs to take such a hard path any more. Your story should inspire us, today’s researchers. And I believe it does.
Dear Dr Franklin,
I am writing to you from Oulu, a town in Northern Finland. The University of Oulu, where I work, was founded in 1959, a year after your death. I am not a scientist myself, but a historian of science specializing in the history of 20th-century biomedicine. Everyone in our research field would know your name today – in fact, most schoolchildren would, at least in the Anglophone countries. In many respects, you are still with us.
One of Leopold von Ranke’s driving forces of his theoretical reflections was to turn historiography into a scientific discipline. This meant expunging the moral dimension from historiographical judgment. In order to arrive at a disinterested view of what really has happened, one should extinguish oneself and one’s political and moral aspirations.
A narrative style is the most suitable form of expression for sharing historical knowledge and that much has been evident since the very inception of this venerable discipline. However, is the story or narrative really the most valuable product of historians? The very fact that history is being taught at almost all instances of primary and secondary education in the form of ready-made tales about nations, countries, ideas, or great ancestors seems to imply so. On the other hand, a criticism of this common practice comes from many different places.