Objectivity and historical understanding

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This work is both an Introduction to the philosophy of Bernard Lonergan and an essay in the application of his approach in the areas of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of historiography. The first Part of the work is an exposition and defence of Lonergan 's position on cognitional structure and epistemology. Attention is focused upon the way Lonergan's thought in this area compares and contrasts with recent work on epistemology and the possibility of objective knowing by such philosophers as Hintikka, Mackie, Davidson, Rorty and Wittgenstein. I defend Lonergan's attempt to argue that denials of the possibility of objective knowledge are self-referentially incoherent, and that, when properly understood, the reversal of such denials substantiates a position on cognition and epistemology. The second part of the work considers the way Lonergan builds upon his work in epistemology to outline an approach to problems concerning objectivity in the knowledge of History. After an exposition of Lonergan's thought on objectivity in historical knowledge, I proceed to examine ways in which his work in this area contributes to discussions on such issues as the criteria of selection used by historians and the place of value-judgements in historical writing. I argue that Lonergan's designation of the goal of historical writing as "understanding what was going forward in the human community in the past" is a useful one. In the final chapters of the work I employ elements from Lonergan's position to argue against some of the views put forward by Hayden White, Louis Mink and others, concerning the "subjectivity" of the historian's account of past developments. In a way akin to that of David Carr (but without Carr's dependence on Husserl) I argue that there is good evidence for the belief that reality does have an aspect to it which may be described in the "narrative" accounts of historians.
Bibliography: p. 241-247.
Beards, A. (1992). Objectivity and historical understanding (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca. doi:10.11575/PRISM/24604