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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But like Beard, McDonald tended to forget that men have minds and hearts, and feet to stand on and spines to stand straight. A historian has written suggestively that “our present state of knowledge is one of fisched ignorance. Provided a historian does not falsify information or arrive at unfounded conclusions, he should be permitted to deviate from the accepted understanding of an event and offer alternative explanations.

Every true statement must be thrice true. Negative evidence is actually no evidence at all.

Another qualification is also worth keeping in mind. Would anyone debate on which is right or whether cocks in different countries sing different songs?

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

The aboriginal act of inspiration remains utterly mysterious to human understanding. Many mindless monographs call to mind Davy Crockett’s critique of an effusion by Andrew Jackson — historains don’t even make good nonsense.

The potentially verifiable question is perhaps a manifestation of Abraham Kaplan’s myth of methodology.

No amount of empirical research will ever suffice to prove that Timothy Pickering, had he by some horrible twist of fate been elevated to the presidential chair, would or would not have done precisely what Jefferson did. Deduction he understood in an ordinary way as “necessary reasoning” which “starts from a hypothesis, the truth or falsity of which has nothing to do with the reasoning.

First, a proper historical question must be operational — which is merely to say that it must be resolvable in empirical terms. In their common speech, “scientism” has become a smear word, and “scientific history” is a phrase which is used merely to con- demn the infatuation of an earlier generation. Michael Polanyi has suggested that scientists do indeed proceed by a logic of tacit inference — but one which is only learned through personal experience and can never be articulated.



He argues that Fogel’s counterfactuals are “fig- ments” in Vaihinger’s terms. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Often in terms of some epistemo- logical abstraction which bears small resemblance to the thinking which anybody actually does. In his biography of Grover Cleveland, Nevins characterized Wealth Against Commonwealth as “a searching exposure, amply buttressed by detail,” and an accurate rendering of a “sordid record of business piracy,” in “more than five hundred calm, unemotional pages.

The “problems” that appear in these pamphlets are not merely a result of faulty pedagogical practice. Another example of precisely the same species appears in Bridenbaugh’s The Colonial Craftsman 2d ed. They have not sufficiently attended to historical thinking as it actually happens, or to historical problems as they actually exist. To make this even more confusing, some think that Madison caved to the anti-federalists by drawing up the Bill of Rights and others that he was tossing them some hushpuppies to shut their mouths so that the Constitution would pass.

Nov 01, Franz rated it it was amazing. Fourth, relativists all argued that they and their friends were exempt from relativism in some degree. For the purposes of this book I have accepted, without qualification, Beard’s system of interpretation and his system of testing it. The most influential text is R.

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

The Dred Scott Decision: A moment’s reflection should suffice to establish the simple proposition that every historian, willy-nilly, must begin his research with a question.

Except for histoorians few special twists of his own, fallaciees general outline follows the economic determinist pattern: Bob Croft rated it really liked it Feb 05, Most important, the object is not to play traffic policeman or magistrate: But it is wrong to conclude that objective historical knowledge is therefore impossible.


A tautological ques- tion is not really a question at all, but a declaration. Were those thirteen shillings and six- pence extracted from a pound of property at market value or from an assessed valuation of estates? Second, he might demonstrate that there is a third possibility.

An English scholar writes condescendingly, It is no doubt important to know that the great battle was fought in and not in orand that it was fought at Hastings and not East- bourne or Brighton. But one might also imagine an interdisciplinary effort which combined the worst of both worlds — the stupidity of historians and the ignorance of sociologists.

And he caps off his exercise with a conclusion which is altogether as perverse as his premises. It would be a very grave mistake to apply a logic for the testing of con- jectures to conjecturing itself.

To think up new and better methods of arguing in any field is to make a major advance, not just in logic, but in the substantive field itself. But they ought not to be confused with heuristic, open-ended questions of the sort which can be resolved by empirical research.

Karl Popper has suggested that science develops by a sequence of “con- jectures and refutations. He is best known for his major study, Albion’s Seed, which argued that core aspects of American culture stem from several different British folkways and regional cultures, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington’s Crossing Pivotal Moments in American Ffallaciesa narrative of George Washington’s leadership of the Continental Army during the winter of during the American Revolutionary War.

Stirrings of a new spirit are slowly beginning to appear, but the Hempelian model, in modified forms, fische its popularity. Fogel, “The Specification Problem,” p.

There are many intersections along the way. But he had merely disguised it. Printed in the United Sulci of America.

To an historian this seems a very dangerous procedure: