• Research

For the time being, I’d only like to offer one general thought here. It concerns the question of the scientificity of history. Not entirely unimportant as a subject, one might think. Indeed it seems to me that many practitioners of historiography don’t really know, epistemologically speaking, in what sort of project they’re engaged. This doesn’t mean of course that I find fault with what they’re doing.

There are two very common objections against the claim that history—understood as the rational inquiry into the past—is a science. Some object that there are no directly observable phenomena in history. Well, yes, that might be correct; but has anyone ever seen an electron, say? Others object that history fails to make any predictions. Well, yes; yet, again, were that a necessary condition for something’s being a science, evolutionary biology, say, or cosmology, in this case wouldn’t qualify as sciences either—a conclusion few would want to espouse… Here’s my point, then: the epistemological status of one’s inferences depends not on the object of study, as is generally presupposed, but on the methodology employed. Once that is understood, there can be no doubt that historiography is a science.

More later… In the meantime, you might want to have a look at my pages on Apollonius Dyscolus. He’s one my favourite writers on language from antiquity.