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The Objectivity Of History

  • J. A. Passmore (a1)


“There's one thing certain,” said a historian of my acquaintance when he heard the title of this paper, “that's a problem which would never perturb a working-historian.” He was wrong: a working-historian first drew it to my attention; and in one form or another it raises its head whenever historians discuss the nature of their own inquiries. Yet in a way he was right. His mind had turned to the controversies of epistemologists, controversies about “the possibility of knowledge”; historians, he rightly felt, do not trouble their-heads about such matters.



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1 Of course, writing an interpretation is not the same thing as writing a history-book. I do not wish at the moment to consider more precisely in what an interpretation consists. But the general point I am making, I trust, applies to history-books and to interpretations alike.


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