The historian’s fallacy is an informal fallacy that occurs when one assumes that decision Fischer did not suggest that historians should refrain from retrospective analysis in their work, but he reminded historians that their subjects were not. Full text of “Historians Fallacies Toward A Logic Of Historical Thought” ; quoted in Roger A. Fischer, “Racial Segregation in Ante Bellum New Orleans,”. HISTORIANS’. FALLACIES. Toward a Logic of Historical Thought by David Hackett Fischer. HARPER & ROW, PUBLISHERS. NEW YORK, EVANSTON, AND.

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Max Weber has written that Methodology can only bring us reflective understanding of the means which have demonstrated their value in practice by raising them to the level of explicit consciousness; it is no more the precondition of fiscber intellectual work than the knowledge of anatomy is a precondition for “correct” walking.

This, I think, is partly true for some historians, but entirely false for others, and insufficient for all. In many cases, his work was an improvement upon what went before, but it might have been historrians still if counterquestions had been avoided and problems studied without allowing assumptions to be established and problems to be limited by earlier investigators. He piles one puzzle upon another in a great towering pyramid of cleverness and confusion.

Similarly, Machiavelli hypothesized often in the form, “The nobles are to be considered in two different manners; that is, they are either to be ruled so as faloacies make them entirely dependent on your fortunes, or else not.

Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought by David Hackett Fischer

Noble, are a case in point: Instead, it is a process of adductive reasoning in the simple sense of adducing answers to specific questions, so that a satisfactory explanatory “fit” is obtained. They have not fallaciez attended to historical thinking as it actually happens, or to historical problems as they actually exist.

Though the name is objectionable in this respect, I have adopted it because it is standard, on H.

Brown argues that given their definitions “Puritan ‘Mixt Aristocratie’ is much nearer our notion of democracy than our current meaning of aristocracy” p. But it is not true that they must or should do so, for the same difficulties which developed in Fogel’s Hans Vaihinger — mistakenly, I think.

There is at least one important way in which McDonald departs from the Beardian model. So, also, no knowledge can be subjective unless some knowledge is objective.

Be the first to discover new talent! The following examples are the actual titles of works which have been edited by reputable professional historians and issued by respec- table publishers such as Holt, Rinehart; Prentice-Hall; Houghton Mif- flin; Random House; and D. The hand of God?

Most often it is a search for every- thing about something. But it is also a step backward in its return to ancient metaphysical conundrums which have distracted many generations of historians. Sign up here to receive historjans FREE alerts. Any such attempt to divide history, like physics, into “theoretical” and “experimental” branches would probably impoverish both aspects of a historian’s task.

Surely the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought

But a counterquestion, in its reflexive inversion of the original, tends to repeat the original assumptions, faults and all, and thereby to perpetuate the error. Moreover, the secondary, tertiary, etc.

The book was a fascinating look at how one historian feels all historians should focus their work. The results are fiischer apparent in the conceptual poverty of many historical monographs — a poverty to be explained not by the stupidity of the authors, but rather by their habitual reluctance to give sufficient attention to the organization of their inquiry, to the speci- fiecher of their assumptions, and to the explication of their intentions.

But it is already beginning to happen, in a quiet way, histogians monographs such as Thomas Barrow’s Trade and Empire: Nothing is more deleterious and more absurd than the common tendency of some historians to confuse open-mindedness with imprecision, and flexibility with bef uddlement, and wisdom with obscurity.

Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought – David Hackett Fischer – Google Books

So arises in our poetic judgments the fallacy caused by the estimate which we may call historic. Among my professional brethren, there is even a band of methodological Nullbruder, who flaunt their intellectual poverty as if it were a badge of grace, and flourish all the rusty fallwcies of ignorance in the face of every effort at reform. Many mindless monographs call to mind Davy Crockett’s critique of an effusion by Andrew Jackson — “It don’t even make good nonsense.

Abraham Kaplan was warned against the “myth of methodology,” the mistaken idea that “the most serious difficulties which confront behavioral science are ‘metho- dological,’ and that if only we hit upon the right methodology, progress will be rapid and sure.

What were these pounds worth, in purchasing power? Lokken cites the same evidence to sustain a contrary proposition, that Cotton was hostile to “unmixed democracy,” that there was nothing in his thought like a nineteenth- or ffischer sense of democracy, for “in the political ethos of the seventeenth and eighteenth century English world, representation did not involve direct responsibility to the electorate” pp.


Tay- lor believes, did not come to “this most uniform of continents” because “rejection of uniformity was the one thing uniform to the inhabitants of Europe.

But after that if he is worth considering at all he becomes the servant of his evidence of which he will, or should, ask no specific questions until he has absorbed what it says.

From Dunning to Du Bois to present practitioners, there is a process of refinement which is clearly at work in Reconstruction historiography, a widening and deepening of inquiry which transcends the reversals that relativism has taught us to expect. It is a necessary condition of his work, but not his essential function.