Why do we interpret the past as we do, rather than in some other way or not at all? What is the significance of the fact that we interpret the past? What are historical interpretations? Raymond Martin's approach to these questions transcends both the positivist and humanistic perspectives that have polarized Anglo-American philosophy of history. Martin goes to the source of this polarization by diagnosing a deep-seated flaw in the dominant analytic approach during the period from 1935 to 1975, namely, the emphasis on conceptual analysis rather than the examination of actual historical controversies. As an alternative, Martin proposes an empirical approach that examines what makes one historical interpretation better than its competitors.
In addressing how historians should decide which explanations are better, Martin opts for a case-by-case analysis of historiographical practice as opposed to establishing general criteria. His book offers several detailed case studies, involving such topics as the collapse of Lowland Maya civilization in the ninth century A.D., the fall of Rome, and the alleged historical priority of St. Mark's gospel over the other synoptic gospels.
Originally published in 1989.
ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Subjects: History, Philosophy
Table of Contents
You are viewing the table of contents
You do not have access to this
on JSTOR. Try logging in through your institution for access.