Microhistorical Epistemology: Building the Epistemology of History through Practice
Strategic research project of the University of Oulu
Focus institute: Eudaimonia
This research project tackles the dilemma between strong naturalists and their critics regarding epistemic theories of historiography: we have either empirically unfounded general theories or normatively irrelevant local analyses. The aim is to focus on local practices with an intent to identify epistemically significant principles in this practice, develop a novel way to construct epistemic theories and to learn about the practice of historiography. In other words, the project outlines, develops and implements a method, the epistemologically relevant microhistorical method, which enables the generation of warranted epistemic principles and even theories. In addition, the research project characterizes the historical trajectories and functioning of several key epistemic concepts of historiography, such as ‘rationality,’ ‘contingency,’ ‘colligation’ and evidence.