Historiographic Justification

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

HUM330 15:00 - 17:00

Dr. Adam Bricker (University of Oulu) discusses "Historiographic Justification".



In this talk, I introduce a new theoretical framework for understanding the concept of historiographical justification, a framework which I have opted to call “method reliabilism.” Roughly, a historical thesis is justified to the extent and only to the extent that it forms via a reliable historiographical process. Although derived in part from process reliabilism, because here reliability is not necessarily understood in terms of attaining truth, the I theory present differs fundamentally from the epistemological concept of justification at least to this extent that it is not truth conducive. This allows for an account of justification which can accommodate the view—defended by a number of philosophers of historiography—that at least many historiographically good theses cannot be true. This solves a key problem of those theories of historiographical justification we might identify in existing works, whose evidentialist and/or coherentist bents restrict their capacity to be theory-neutral with regard to this question of the truth of historiographical theses. Moreover, this primary emphasis on method, not evidence and/or coherence, also affords method reliabilism the distinct advantage of more closely reflecting the actual evaluative practice of historians. Here I will underscore this advantage by using the Evans Report as a case study.

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Last updated: 17.1.2020