Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-56f9d74cfd-l4dq5 Total loading time: 0.439 Render date: 2022-06-27T22:34:47.011Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

Chapter Fifteen - The Third Phase: Material Inquiry into the Verifiability of Specific Concepts, and Conflict over the Implications of the Findings c.1990– c. 2020

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2021

Get access

Summary

Philosophy of History

Hayden White (1928– 2018)

White, writing in the mid-1980s, addresses specific topics in his systematic, hierarchical architectonic of historical thought. Essays that take up certain topics, such as that of individual historians, tangential to his work, or the problem of temporality in narrativity, narrativity as a story form,, enable him to probe deeply into how past and present issues were formulated, and in many instances seen as seminal to his present thought. Looking at one essay, published in 1987 by White, we can see how the third phase of conflict through material argument (evidence) and its implications are developed. In “The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory,” his views on narrative and temporality are presented, most deeply and clearly. White argues that the “form” of the narrative is always a “story.” Herodotus, of course, used his Greek term historia to mean both inquiry into the historical facts and a narrative “story” of what occurred. In this way, White's understanding, with the added dimension of how temporality is effected and how it affects thought, is that of Herodotus. The German language also has this bipolar meaning in the term “Geschichte,” which is both “history” and “story.”

White explains this conjunction of “story” and a chronology of factual occurrence beginning with a quote from Paul Ricoeur:

“The plot … places us at the crossing point of temporality and narrativity; to be historical, an event must be more than a singular occurrence, a unique happening. It receives its definition from its contribution to the development of a plot.”

According to this view, a specifically historical event is not one that can be inserted into a story wherever the writer wishes; it is rather a kind of event that can “contribute” to the “development of a plot.” It is as if the plot were an entity in process of development prior to the occurrence of any given event, and any given event could be endowed with historicality only to the extent that it could be shown to contribute to this process. And, indeed, such seems to be the case, because for Ricoeur, historicality is a structural mode or level of temporality itself.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Metahistory of Western Knowledge in the Modern Era
Four Evolving Metaparadigms, 1648 to Present
, pp. 231 - 242
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×