Is History a precise science or an instrument to manipulate the consciousness of peoples?
History has almost always been recorded by the victors of conflict. It is only in our present-day opportunity at electronic publication that we begin to see what the "losers" of conflict have to say.
An era of recorded "loser" history...whattayaknow...it's a very unique age that we live in.
History can never be a precise science because it is a study of the past and that means it will be distorted factually in some way by some degree. Humans are incapable of recording events and incidents as pure happenings because mindsets/psychologies/culture warp and discolour. So it is that educational systems in different parts of the world offer only a partial view on historical facts!
As an instrument of manipulation - well, yes, history is used to do just that and there are umpteen examples to illustrate the fact. Propaganda comes in all shapes and forms and history sometimes becomes propaganda, especially in times of war and national stress.
Governments world wide often have to apologise for their predecessors' misdoings and misinformation - lies that have been spat out as truths become a tainted sort of history.
As far as I can see the only history that is relatively harmless is archaeology.
As a history major I faced this question many times.
From the point of view of an historian, history is not a precise science. It cannot be a science in the way that chemistry or practical physics are sciences. The historian cannot go back and recreate a moment from the past and have that past replay as a chemist can when mixing various substances.
History is a matter of opinion. That opinion is derived from previous historians recording of the past and is constantly under revision as new material becomes available.
History can be and is manipulated by various groups, not necccessarily governments for various reasons. The only protection against the malicious use of "history" is to learn about the subject from as many different sources as one can.
Yes, totally agree. I usually try to read about any particular historical event from at least two different sources at once. This is easy for periods such as World War 2 but not so easy for more obscure times.
History is conceptual. It is one of the last fields left over from the Enlightenment that has not been corned and professionalized. The Scientific Method can be applied to history with one theory being constantly tested. The trouble is the "evidence" itself, in this case primary sources, may have been been falsely written from the beginning to mislead contemporary people and posterity. Universal facts of history can be seen from one perpective to create a truth that is used to manipulate the consciousness of people. Where academic historians often go wrong is when they apply any sort of bias to the subject they are studying without knowing it. Racism factors into the writing of history beyond a doubt.
I honestly think historians would do better to stop explaining the "why" of history and focus more on the "what" and "how" of history. I don't want to know WHY Truman dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. I don't want to know WHY we involved ourselves in the Greek Civil War, and I don't want to know someone's interpretation on WHY Fidel Castro took over Cuba. In my mind, the "why" is the source of manipulation as historians become the apologists for every political misdeed. Instead, talk about WHAT Truman did: He refused Japan's July 1945 offer of surrender and dropped two atomic bombs in August 1945. After that, he granted them the terms of which they had originally asked back in July. Please don't let an historian explain to me why Truman did that. Let me learn more and understand the objective facts and understand that it was not ethical, even in 1945.
History is definitely not a precise science.
It may be used as a tool to manipulate the consciousness of peoples if the writer wishes to but the readers must accept what he says as the truth.
My view of history is to find out what happened in the past, concerning certain events or episodes. The historian should be objective as possible and look for just the facts as he can best discern them.
And to that end, history should looked at in order to solve the problems of today.
History is definitely not a science of any sort, though various branches of science are used for historical discovery and verification. History is a chronicle. True history, that is, history not manipulated, distorted or suppressed either at the time of recording or later on by someone or some group with an agenda, can be very precise. Contemporary history may be more detailed than, say, ancient history because contemporary recording methods are technologically more advanced than were those of ancient times. However, details do not necessarily mean accuracy, precision. A true and complete history is a window to the future. A manipulated, distorted or suppressed history is no window at all; it's just a lie. And why would anything other than a true and complete history be presented? To manipulate, distort or suppress the truth... whatever that may be; and to push ahead whatever agenda the liar wants. On a grand scale, manipulation of the consciousness of peoples is certainly a possibility.
I wrote a hub about this several months ago. In a nutshell, I said that history can never be objective in part because events are always filtered through the perspective of the observer. Also it can easily be manipulated. If you'd like to see the whole hub it's.
http://sherryhewins.hubpages.com/hub/Ho … is-History
History can't be a precise science as it relies too heavily on recollections of the past. Just because these recollections are put down on paper doesn't make them 100 percent true. Also people make up things for various reasons.
There was a time when only the wealthy had books and most people were illiterate. In those days books, including those dealing with history, were written to cater to a slim minority. Back in the 12th Century Geoffrey of Monmouth produced Historia Regum Britanniae (The History of the kings of Britain). Today this so-called history book isn't considered much of a history book at all. Much of the content is fictitious with propaganda aimed at making the prospective reader look good. Nowadays there is enough proof to say that the Trojans did not found the British nation. Even so, there is real history even in this book if you can manage to swim without sinking through the rest of it.
Here I am suggesting that at times looking at the author and his motivation or motivations to write history wouldn't be a bad idea.
Nowadays we can be beguiled by film footage from the past and hence accept a documentary as being for real even if others might find it questionable. We've seen it so it must be true, right? Well, film footage can be manipulated through its positioning in the narrative that goes with it. Important details can be left out.
In the past, in a less literate age, there was and remains a drought of evidence and information about the lives led by ordinary people. For the past three hundred years, however, there has been a flood of information about anything and everything. Part of what an historian has to do is sift through all this information to find what suits best his research. Things are left out because they must be left out. Choices have to be made and they are not always the right choices.
I have noticed of late that, in a lot of modern history books dealing with the 20th Century, Germany after 1918 and before 1936 tends to be a blank spot. It is just not dealt with. To me how Hitler got into power and how a people gave up democracy for something much, much worse is a story worth telling. Unfortunately, you have school kids nowadays that think the German people just went mad one day, put Adolf Hitler in charge of everything and began to make war on their neighbors.
History is not a science. History is fact and History repeasts itself that is a proven fact.
Biased historical perspective is prolific in any culture; propagandists select facts and purport implications to serve their own rhetorical or deceitful purposes. However, history, broadly speaking, is the conglomeration of means (facts, opinions, and interpretations) serving a multiplicity of ends, and therefore its subject cannot be pinned down through scientific method. While we can look at one source and evaluate it's objectivity, we cannot apply a hypothesis for determining that the next source we examine will conform to a measurable set of principles. Any scientific approach to history can only apply to the verification of historical fact, but even then, the historicity of the source can prove it's bias.
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