Read e-book online A Companion to the Study of History PDF

By Michael Stanford

ISBN-10: 0631181598

ISBN-13: 9780631181590

ISBN-10: 0631228047

ISBN-13: 9780631228042

This booklet courses scholars via the entire important old ideas, theories, equipment and difficulties confronting these engaged within the critical examine of heritage.

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This chapter is about the unity of history, so we are led to ask what sort of unity is to be found in it. ) or is it merely a random succession of one thing after another? The photographs on the film in your camera picture a succession of events, but they lack the unity of the frames of a cinematograph film. The latter may even be a work of art. To some people all history has seemed like this. 15 as See Foucault (1970), p. xxii. 16 Powicke (1955), p. 95. html [5/29/2009 12:12:45 AM] page_19 < previous page page_19 next page > Page 19 Could we all just be characters in a story that one supernatural being is telling to another?

What has most conspicuously evolved is technology. As for 'the survival of the fittest', this notion should (as Karl Popper suggests) be applied to our ideas. Let them contend without privilege or prejudice in open and fair fight, and may the best one win. Thus we may hope to make progress and at the same time stop killing people. 3 Progress But what is 'progress'? Is the story of mankind one of steady advance, as many have believed? Progress implies improvement getting better. But 'better' in what sense?

6 See Marx (1977) p. 160. html [5/29/2009 12:12:54 AM] page_28 < previous page page_28 next page > Page 28 not least in those very polities that were most inspired by Marx. This painfully reminds us that few human activities can ignore their natural context. One does not have to subscribe to the whole Marxist philosophy to agree that a large and necessary part of human activity has always been securing the physical necessities of life. From these basics we have gone on to produce greater and greater luxuries.

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A Companion to the Study of History by Michael Stanford

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