The Logic of Historical Explanation

Overview

Ever since 1942, when Carl Hempel declared that historical events are explained by subsuming them under laws governing the occurrence of similar events, philosophers have debated the validity of explanations based on "covering laws." In The Logic of Historical Explanation, Clayton Roberts provides a key to understanding the role of covering laws in historical explanation. He does so by distinguishing between their use at the macro- and micro- levels, a distinction that no other ...

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1996 Hard cover First edition. New/Unused/Unmarked/Unopened. In the Original Shrink-Wrap. No Dust Jackets Issued/Black Boards. Not a Remainder, Return, or Previously Owned. Sewn ... binding. Paper over boards. 320 p. Audience: General/trade. NEW/UNUSED/UNMARKED/UNOPENED from the Publisher. In the Original Shrink-Wrap. No Dust Jackets Issued/Black Boards. Not a Remainder, Return, or Previously Owned. U.S. Domestic Tracking/Confirmation Included. Shipped Directly From Our Facility. Via USPS, Will Ship International, APO/FPO/DPO, PO Boxes, all US 50 States/Territories, Priority and please inquire for Express. All orders are packed carefully/securely, with packing materials to help with quality control, so you may receive your order as described or better, and shipped directly from our facility to provide fast/personal service [Canada/Domestic]. We do our best to ship before expected shipping date and provide honest descriptions. [Note: Residential/Office Deliveries-Please give details on your order how you would Read more Show Less

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Overview

Ever since 1942, when Carl Hempel declared that historical events are explained by subsuming them under laws governing the occurrence of similar events, philosophers have debated the validity of explanations based on "covering laws." In The Logic of Historical Explanation, Clayton Roberts provides a key to understanding the role of covering laws in historical explanation. He does so by distinguishing between their use at the macro- and micro- levels, a distinction that no other scholar has made.

Roberts contends that the positivists were right to believe that covering laws are indispensable in historical explanations but wrong to think that these laws apply to macro-events (such as wars and revolutions). Similarly, the humanists were right to declare that historians do not explain the occurrence of macro-events by subsuming them under covering laws but wrong to deny the role of covering laws in tracing the course of events leading to the macro-event. Roberts resolves this debate by showing that, though useless in explaining macro-events, covering laws are indispensable in connecting the steps in an explanatory narrative. He then sets forth the logic of an explanatory narrative, explores the nature of rational explanation, and distinguishes the logic of historical interpretation from the logic of historical explanation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271014425
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 332
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Clayton Roberts is Professor Emeritus of History at the Ohio State University. His previous books include The Growth of Responsible Government in Stuart England (2008).

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Failure of Macrocorrelation 1
2 The Explanatory Power of Colligation 16
3 The Necessity of Microcorrelation 38
4 The Nature of Covering Laws 55
5 The Problem of Indiscriminate Pluralism 89
6 The Logic of Colligation 105
7 Structure and Theory in History 134
8 Purposive Action 160
9 The Etiology of Desire 199
10 The Etiology of Belief 214
11 The Logic of Historical Interpretation 240
12 Causal Explanation and the Uses of History 273
Glossary 291
Bibliography 295
Index 313
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