Representationalism and Non-representationalism in Historiography

Journal of the Philosophy of History 7 (3):453-479 (2013)
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This paper examines how Hayden White and specifically Frank Ankersmit have attempted to develop the representationalist account of historiography. It is notable that both reject the copy theory of representation, but nevertheless commit to the idea that historiography produces representations. I argue that it would have been more advantageous to go yet one step further and reject representationalist language altogether on the level of narratives, as this implies that one is re-presenting a given object in one’s language in some sense. Narratives and other synthesizing expressions, such as colligatory notions, do not have such objects or references in the past itself, and therefore, it would be more appropriate to talk about constructed ‘presentations.’ In the end, I outline a non-representationalist alternative, according to which historiography is a form of discursive and argumentative practice



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A Dialogue with Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen.Frank Ankersmit - 2017 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 11 (1):38-58.

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