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    The relationship between philosophy and its history

    James, Susan (2022) The relationship between philosophy and its history. In: Bourke, R. and Skinner, Q. (eds.) History in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 211-229. ISBN 9781009231008. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    For the most part, historians of philosophy work on equal terms with their non-historical colleagues; but for defenders of what I call the Separation Thesis, this relationship is hierarchical. Historians of philosophy (who explain what a philosopher P meant by an utterance Q) are distinct from and inferior to philosophers (who tell us whether Q is true). After rehearsing some criticisms of this view, I ask what continues to make it attractive. I argue that it is indebted to what I describe as the Classical Conception of Philosophy, according to which philosophical reasoning yields entirely general truths that in turn transform our understanding and have the power to produce unparalleled happiness. Although contemporary separatists do not explicitly embrace this conception, I argue that it remains appealing to them, and underlies their desire to distinguish philosophy from its history. To appreciate the interdependence of philosophy and its history, I conclude, we have to give up the Classical Conception of philosophy. Book synopsis: This inter-disciplinary volume explores the relationship between history and a range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences: economics, political science, political theory, international relations, sociology, philosophy, law, literature and anthropology. The relevance of historical approaches within these disciplines has shifted over the centuries. Many of them, like law and economics, originally depended on self-consciously historical procedures. These included the marshalling of evidence from past experience, philological techniques and source criticism. Between the late nineteenth and the middle of the twentieth century, the influence of new methods of research, many indebted to models favoured by the natural sciences, such as statistical, analytical or scientific approaches, secured an expanding intellectual authority while the hegemony of historical methods declined in relative terms. In the aftermath of this change, the essays collected in History in the Humanities and Social Sciences reflect from a variety of angles on the relevance of historical concerns to representative disciplines as they are configured today. Illustrates the benefits of an inter-disciplinary approach to research in the humanities and social sciences Engages one of the central debates about the role of historical understanding in the human sciences Showcases the work of leading scholars in the fields of history, politics, literature, economics, anthropology, law, sociology, and philosophy

    Metadata

    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Philosophy. History. Separation Thesis. Classical Conception of Philosophy. Williamson. Spinoza, Russell.
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
    Research Centres and Institutes: Architecture, Space and Society, Centre for
    Depositing User: Susan James
    Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2022 09:23
    Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 05:14
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/48920

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