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Trials and Tribulations of Clio

Trials and Tribulations of Clio

(p.133) 4 Trials and Tribulations of Clio
After Hegel
Frederick C. Beiser
Princeton University Press

The nineteenth century is often dubbed “the age of history.” One reason is because history, as an intellectual discipline, became a science in its own right. For mysterious reasons, yet to be explained, demonstrability, universality, and necessary were no longer regarded as prerequisites of knowledge. Somehow, even historical propositions about particular and contingent matters of fact could be scientific. How do we explain this revolution? Social and historical forces alone are not sufficient to give history its intellectual or philosophical legitimation. They give a powerful motive for such legitimation; but they alone do not provide it. That philosophical side of the story is much more complex, involving many interweaving narratives. This chapter tells but one of them, the simplest and most basic. It describes Clio's struggle for autonomy in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Keywords:   German philosophy, history, science, autonomy, Clio, objectivity, positivism

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