Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. Part 3. Historiography as Progressive Science

In the previous posts, I have discussed Lakatosian and counterfactual considerations about the use of frameworks in historiography. I have argued that frameworks generate possible futures and therefore historiography is committed to sets of possible futures, whether historians like it or not. In this post, I argue that choices of explanatory frameworks reflect values and […]

Dust in the Wind. The Mechanistic Approach to Explanation in Historiography

In this post, I discuss the mechanistic approach to historical (causal) explanation. I argue that while the approach has many virtues, it does not capture some important aspects of historiographical explanatory practices. — In the paper “Ephemeral Mechanisms and Historical Explanation” (2010), Stuart Glennan argues that historical events are often products of processes that can […]

Should We Correct Historiography on the Basis of What Happened Later?

In the journal Futures and Foresight Science 2(3-4) there have been interesting discussions about the relationship between historiography and futures research. The following passage from Martin Kunc’s “A modeler’s perspective: A commentary on Schoemaker 2020” was especially interesting: “Schoemaker states, ‘The word forecasting captures this very notion, suggesting that the momentum of the past casts itself forward, […]

How to Approach History of Science Objectively? Presentism in Historiography

See the paper https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/718993 discussing the ideas in this post. — In this post, I discuss some major conceptual and philosophical problems that the historiography of science faces. These problems are important for the estimating of the future of science since they question our ability to connect the past to the present and our ability […]

Forever Trusting Who We Are. Can We Escape the Present Science?

In the excellent and rich paper, “So close no matter how far: counterfactuals in history of science and the inevitability/contingency controversy” (2020), Luca Tambolo discusses counterfactuals in the historiography of science. Tambolo argues that “In the case of general history, it is often possible to imagine a consequent dramatically different from actual history, and yet […]

Will the Future Understand Us?

In historiography, a common idea is that we should describe and explain the past in its own terms. People have had different beliefs, values, and problems to be solved, and the social and cultural dynamics surrounding them have been different – not to mention the material realities of the past. We should not expect that […]

Squeezing Water out of Stones. On Historical Counterfactuals

When I was around 14, my math teacher T. M. always accused me of excessive speculation. I decided that I would learn everything there is to be learned about the art of speculation. I went to the library and starter to read Tetlock and Belkin’s Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics in order to counter […]

But Something Is Happening and You Don’t Know What It Is, Do You, History of Knowledge?

In this post, I discuss the historiography of knowledge. I analyze tensions within the field and attempt to understand why we should to care about the foundations of the field. —– History of Knowledge is here. The authorities are still checking the identity of the settler. Is it someone’s sibling or cousin? Is it someone’s […]

Understanding Explanation and Its Relevance for the Future

In this post, I discuss how philosophy of historiography helps us to understand the estimating of futures. More specifically, by focusing on my forthcoming publication, I discuss why we need a philosophical account of historiographical explanation to understand the use of historiography in scenario-work. Soon, my paper “What Should We Require from an Account of […]

Thinking through Historical Cases

In this post, I discuss problems that are associated with case studies in the philosophy of science and possible solutions to the problems. I also discuss the relevance of the problems to our thinking about science and future. Preliminary note on methodology Before going any further, we need to notice that the notion of “case […]