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Title: History and the Social Sciences
Contributor(s): Lloyd, C  (author)
Publication Date: 2003
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Abstract: The history-science relationship has always been contentious and often troubled. From the beginning of the rise of science to dominance in western thought and culture in the seventeenth century there began a long struggle for philosophy and humanism to come to terms with it. In the nineteenth century many historians adopted what they thought were scientific modes of enquiry. The attempt to be scientific was largely abandoned from the late nineteenth century only to be revived in the late twentieth. Now there is a growing rapprochement between history and social science. Of course not all historical discourse, by any measure, has become scientific today and many scientists fail to see the centrality of history to all systems. The professional history discipline is now rather divided between those striving to become more social scientific and those resolutely rejecting it. The division between cultural historians and some social historians, on the one hand, and sociological, geographical, economic and political historians, on the other, is where the fault-line now lies. But ahistoricism is, unfortunately, still prevalent in the social sciences. The often heated debate between history and science continues in spite of the obvious power and success of scientific methodology and theory in all realms of natural and human enquiry, and the obvious necessity for a historical approach to social (as well as natural) processes and systems because of their irreducibly historical character. Mutual misunderstandings are still common.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Writing History: Theory and Practice, p. 83-103
Publisher: Arnold
Place of Publication: London, UK
ISBN: 0340761768
Field of Research (FOR): 140203 Economic History
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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