Historiography and postmodernism

Filozofski Vestnik 28 (1):121-139 (2007)
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We no longer have any texts, any past, but just interpretations of them. The evident multi -interpretability of a text causes it gradually to lose its capacity to function as arbiter in the historical debate. It is necessary to define a new link with the past based on a complete and honest recognition of the position in which we now see ourselves placed as historians. In recent years, many people have observed our changed attitude towards the phenomenon of information. For postmodernism, science and information are independent objects of study which obey their own laws. Language and art are not situated opposite reality but are themselves a pseudo-reality and are therefore situated within reality. Because of the relation between the historiographical view and the language used by the historian to express his view - a relation which nowhere intersects the domain of the past -historiography possesses the same opacity and intensional dimension as art. The essence of postmodernism is precisely that we should avoid pointing out essentialist patterns in the past. There is reason to assume that our relation to the past and our insight into it will in future be of a metaphorical nature rather than a literal one



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