History as Narrative

History and Theory 8 (1):54-70 (1969)

Abstract

Narrative as it is used by historians is not merely an incidental, stylistic feature of the historian's craft, but essential to historical explanation. Narrative presupposes a world of things that endure through change. Stories fill in the gaps in our experience and thus make continuity visible. Ideally, narrative stands proxy for experience, though this ideal can never be attained. No criterion can be formulated that will signify when a story is complete enough. The changing perspective of the historian and the infinite detail with which he has to deal makes his task a continuous one. Yet the historian cannot be radically subjective because his story is always limited by the chronology of his events and the accuracy of his details. The rationale of narrative enables the historian to repudiate the covering-law model of historical explanation

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The Ontic Account of Scientific Explanation.Carl F. Craver - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the Special Sciences: The Case of Biology and History. Springer Verlag. pp. 27-52.
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