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15 - Idealism in the German tradition of meta-history

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2013

Jörn Rüsen
Affiliation:
Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in Essen
Nicholas Boyle
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Liz Disley
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
John Walker
Affiliation:
Birkbeck College, University of London
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Summary

This chapter will consider the impact of the Idealist tradition on a key element in the development of both the philosophy of history and the historical profession in Germany: the idea of meta-history. By meta-history is meant a more or less systematic reflection on the principles and procedures of historical thinking, mainly in its academic professional form. In most languages other than English this form of reflection is described as ‘scientific’. In the German discourse on this reflection, the term Historik is used.

The development of the German tradition of meta-history goes along with the formation of the professional or scientific character of historical scholarship in Germany. This process of professionalisation started in Germany at the end of the eighteenth century and ended with the institutionalisation of historical studies as an academic discipline in the first half of the nineteenth century. This transformation took place in many different forms and places like specialist journals with a discourse on historical research, and academic teaching in historical seminars, where the students were taught how to examine historical sources in a professional way. In terms of scholarship the scientific character of historical studies became manifest in extensive editions of historical sources like the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (founded 1819) or the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum (founded 1815).

Type
Chapter
Information
The Impact of Idealism
The Legacy of Post-Kantian German Thought
, pp. 331 - 343
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

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