The History of Experience: a history like anything else?1 Last week, I attended the conference “History of Experience: Methodologies and Practices” at the University of Tampere, Finland, organized by the “Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences” (HEX), based at Tampere University. At the conference, I gave a presentation with the same title as this post has (see here for the slides).
Big Problems Come in Bundles, Huge Nonsense Comes in Heaps, and Great Transformations Need Sound Philosophical Foundations
A Note on Mario A. Bunge (1919-2020) and the Future of Philosophy of History and Social Science
If it is true that the good die almost unnoticed, what about the best? On Febru-ary 24th 2020, Mario A. Bunge passed away. For vulgar inductivists this is a surprising event, given that Bunge was born on 21st September, 1919. Those who know (some of) his work consider this to be a tremendous loss to intellectual culture in general and philosophy specifically. Most readers, to the contrary, will probably ask: Mario who?
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.
Rein Vihalemm’s1 account of science was inspired by chemistry, which was his first subject at university, and by Thomas Kuhn’s historically and practically informed understanding of science2. In contrast to the then broadly practiced philosophy of science that leaned mainly on physics as the epitome of science, Vihalemm found in chemistry two aspects, only one of which resembled physics3.
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.
Summary CPSH Research Stay, Oulu, 25.03-1.04.2019
The recently-founded Centre for Philosophical Studies of History, a hub for junior and senior researchers interested in conceptual and philosophical studies of history and historiography, at the University of Oulu came to my attention on the occasion of the international conference The Role of Philosophy of History, 5-7 October, 2017.
Sometimes philosophy of history is called a ‘field,’ comparable to other ‘fields’ like history, sociology or biology. At other times it is linked with theory of history, and these two are understood to form a ‘field’ together. But is it justified to talk about a field in either of these cases?
Is all this a miracle? Jules Michelet I was stuck, and Hayden White helped me to get started. I opened Metahistory at random, and found on page 151 the historian Jules Michelet’s romantic conception of the miraculous French Revolution. The Ancien Regime had finally succumbed to the ‘natural’ force of men and women uniting in the new nation of republican France, ‘transfigured in the glory of July’.
Last week the third installment of the conferences organized by the International Network for the Theory of History (INTH) took place in Stockholm, Sweden, after two previous successful rounds in Ghent, Belgium, in 2013 and Ouro Preto, Brasil, in 2016. The conference saw 150-200 participants, mostly from Europe and the Americas, but also from the Middle East, China, Japan, and Australia.