“Of all the patterns that occur at many different scales, the most fundamental is the existence of pattern itself.” –David Christian
Part two of a two-part discussion of Peter Novick’s That Noble Dream: The Objectivity Question in the American Historical Profession.
Part one of a two-part discussion of Peter Novick’s That Noble Dream: The Objectivity Question and the American Historical Profession.
“If you drop a hammer on your foot, is it real or is it just your imagination? You can run that test, you know, a couple of times, and I hope you come to agree that it’s probably real.” –Bill Nye
“This mythical drama reminded men that suffering is never final; that death is always followed by resurrection; that every defeat is annulled and transcended by the final victory.” –Mircea Eliade
“Historiography that aspires to get closer and closer to the documents—all the documents and nothing but the documents—is merely moving closer to incoherence, chaos, and meaninglessness.” –William McNeill
“Knowledge is a product of wrestling not only with the ‘facts’ but with ourselves. Where alternative visions of reality are not entertained as genuine possibilities, the product of thought tends toward blandness and unearned self-confidence.” –Hayden White
“Narrative structures penetrate our consciousness of events in ways parallel to those in which … theories penetrate observations in science.” –Arthur Danto
“If the modern technical age is to remain human, it cannot overlook the truth that our ancestors have left with us.” –Marshall G.S. Hodgson
“The bourgeois public sphere may be conceived above all as the sphere of private people come together as a public; they soon claimed the public sphere regulated from above against the public authorities themselves, to engage them in a debate over the general rules governing relations in the basically privatized but publicly relevant sphere of commodity exchange and social labor.” –Jurgen Habermas
“In a very real sense it may be said of the eighteenth century that it was an age of faith as well as of reason, and of the thirteenth century that it was an age of reason as well as of faith.” –Carl Becker
“The present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for understanding.” –Will Durant
“The belief in historical destiny is sheer superstition. There can be no prediction of the course of human history by scientific or any other rational methods.” –Karl Popper
“I remember a night near Bahia when I was enveloped in a firework display or phosphorescent fireflies; their pale lights glowed, went out, shone again, all without piercing the night with any true illumination. So it is with events; beyond their glow, darkness prevails.” –Fernand Braudel
“All history is the history of thought.” –R.G. Collingwood
While the world’s attention is focused on religious fundamentalism, there is a new tribalism, and a new revolt against reason, taking shape within liberalism. The name of this movement is New Atheism, but it would be more appropriate to call it Atheist Fundamentalism.
“If you cannot predict, you have not explained.” –Carl Gustav Hempel
“It is the historian who has decided for his own reasons that Caesar’s crossing of that petty stream, the Rubicon, is a fact of history, whereas the crossing of the Rubicon by millions of other people before or since interests nobody at all.” –Edward Hallett Carr
“Civilization is a movement and not a condition; a voyage and not a harbor.” –Arnold Toynbee
“To establish the facts is always in order, and is indeed the first duty of the historian; but to suppose that the facts, once established in all their fullness, will ‘speak for themselves’ is an illusion.” –Carl Becker