Is There an Ethics for Historians?

Studies in Western Australian History 26:16-36 (2009)
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Abstract

How should historians treat one another? More generally, what are the ethical obligations that go with belonging to the profession of history? And more generally still, in what ways and in what sense is history a profession and how are professional ethics manifested in the profession? These are the questions I will canvass in this essay. In his introduction to The Historian’s Conscience, Stuart Macintyre observes that in the recent ‘public dispute over Australian history … there is surprisingly little attention to the ethical dimensions of historical scholarship’. I will suggest that this lack of attention is a problem, and I will try to clarify the nature of the problem.

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Alan Tapper
Curtin University, Western Australia

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