As I’ve noted before (here etc.) history and science have different aims and methods. Mixing them just confuses both of them. There is no genuine “historical science” or “scientific history”. History narrates particulars among unique events. Science theorizes universals among repeatable events. In physics time is homogeneous: an experiment is the same whether conducted today […]
Science is inherently dualistic because it is based on distinctions, and cannot keep denying one side of a distinction without denying the distinction altogether. Duality is as far as science can go. Unification is a temporary state, to be superseded by a more abstract duality. Low-entropy science seeks fixed relations. High-entropy science seeks stochastic relations.
This post builds on previous ones, such as here. In the year 507 B.C., the Athenian leader Cleisthenes introduced a system of political reforms that he called demokratia, or “rule by the people.” This system was comprised of three separate institutions: the ekklesia, a sovereign governing body that wrote laws and dictated foreign policy; the
The unit for all calendars is the day, the diurnal cycle of daylight and night. A lunar calendar is based on the monthly (synodic) cycle of the Moon’s phases. A solar calendar is based on the annual cycle of the Sun’s height above the horizon. A lunar-solar (lunisolar) calendar is based on the lunar month
Historians establish the facts of history, of what happened in the past. They do this with a variety of sources, some documentary, some physical, and whatever else they find is relevant. Key particulars are more significant than universals in establishing the facts of history. Historians may consider scientific theory in doing this, but they may
What follows are excerpts from Ramsay MacMullen’s book Christianizing the Roman Empire, A.D. 100-400 (Yale, 1984). He begins with historiography pointers relevant to religious history. My subject here is the growth of the church as seen from the outside, and the period is the one that saw the church become dominant, and Europe Christian. p.vii
At the highest level of classification, history may be divided into human history (better known simply as ‘history’) and physical history. The former is a large subject with many subdivisions, while the latter is usually turned over to the physical sciences. This is a pity since science and history are different disciplines (see posts here).
The following (long) excerpts are from Isaiah Berlin’s article “History and Theory: The Concept of Scientific History”, published in History and Theory 1 (1):1 (1960). Republished in Concepts and Categories: Philosophical Essays. NY: Viking Press, 1979. (online here). HISTORY, according to Aristotle, is an account of what individual human beings have done and suffered. In
For previous posts on history and science, see here. History and science are different kinds of knowledge. History is based on the particulars that go into narratives. Science is based on the universals that go into theories. History is focused on the matter and science is focused on the form, in the Aristotelian sense. The
History is diachronic. Science is synchronic. History is a narrative of time. Science is a theory of space. A scientist sees two things and notices their similarities. An historian sees two things and notices their differences. A scientist seeks what is universal that explains. An historian seeks what is unique that explains. For science the