Insights developed in the past two decades by philosophers of the social sciences can serve to enrich the challenging intellectual tasks of conceptualizing, investigating, and representing the human past. Likewise, intimate engagement with the writings of historians can deepen philosophers’ understanding of the task of knowing the past. This volume brings these perspectives together and considers fundamental questions, such as: What is historical causation? What is a large historical structure? How can we best conceptualize “mentalities” and “identities”? What is involved in understanding the subjectivity of historical actors? What is involved in arriving at an economic history of a large region? How are actions and outcomes related? The arguments touch upon a wide range of historical topics the Chinese and French Revolutions, the extension of railroads in the nineteenth century, and the development of agriculture in medieval China.
Table of Contents
Introduction History’s Pathways.- Chapter One History and narrative.- Chapter Two Historical concepts and social ontology.- Chapter Three Large structures .- Chapter Four Causal mechanisms.- Chapter Five History of Technology.- Chapter Six Economic history.- Chapter Seven The involution debate.- Chapter Eight Mentalités.- Conclusion.- References