CARRS WHAT IS HISTORY

CARRS WHAT IS HISTORY - Andrew Ciampaglio Dr. Shaohua Hu...

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Andrew Ciampaglio Dr. Shaohua Hu Research and Analysis 3/7/08 E.H. Carr’s What is History? Facts, Science and Causes E.H. Carr’s book, What is History was the most interesting take on history, facts and causes I have read this year. His presentation of ideas is so well thought out and organized it kind of blows you away at first read. It a book where you could read it 3 times and the fourth time you would pick up something new. The three most important issues he raised that stuck out to me were his take on facts, science and causes. In chapter one he breaks down his view on history, its facts, how we interpret them and the historians role in portraying “historical facts” over just everyday facts. In chapter three is where is outlines his view of modern science on history and if history is a science or not. Then chapter four shows us his view on the question why and the difference between explanations and causes, also the breaking down of causes themselves. These three chapters stuck out to me most and have the greatest impact on my view of history. Historical fact, what is historical fact? E.H. Carr argues there is a difference between historical fact and other facts. His original example is Julius Ceaser crossing the Rubicon and that there is a table sitting in the middle of the room. Carr says Ceaser crossing the Rubicon is historical fact and goes on to say that the fact that millions of others have crossed the Rubicon but that is not historical fact because it is ignored by
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historians. He goes onto say that historians are necessarily selective. This to me raises the question on who decided what is or is not a historical fact? The process is explained by Carr in which a fact becomes a historical fact based on how it is documented and interpreted by others. A fact can be transformed into a historical fact over time if it is seen showing up throughout history in articles, books and so on. Maybe even more interesting is Carr’s view on judging history and its facts.
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CARRS WHAT IS HISTORY - Andrew Ciampaglio Dr. Shaohua Hu...

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