2002 Extension History Hsc Paper Essay Example
2002 Extension History Hsc Paper Essay Example

2002 Extension History Hsc Paper Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (892 words)
  • Published: November 23, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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Discuss how this interpretation of history compares with your own view, with reference to the source and other sources. The Problem of historical objectivity remains a challenge, as historians with different moral values and beliefs contribute to the subjective nature of history. This subjectivity impacts historical construction and the process of finding evidence to reconstruct the past.

The text written by Albert Prior Fell, titled "That noble dream: The problem of historical objectivity," presents various perspectives on the interpretation of history. These viewpoints are expressed by historians Keith Jenkins, Herodotus, Marc Bloch, and Edward Hallett Carr. Fell's text raises important points about the impossibility of attaining historical objectivity. It highlights how history has been constantly reconstructed throughout time, making it challenging to achieve a definitive and precise representation from ancient history to modern times.

Albert acknowledges the c


hallenge for historians to achieve an "objective truth" in their work while recognizing its difficulty due to inherent subjectivity. This supports the idea that History is subjective, and completely unbiased historians are hard to comprehend. Despite efforts to remain impartial, personal opinions and perspectives inevitably influence their work. Essentially, Albert argues that historians not only lack complete access to evidence but also interpret it in ways open to debate and qualification. Therefore, Albert shares the belief that history is subjective and objective history poses a fundamental "problem". Moreover, Herodotus, a Greek scholar and storyteller from the fifth century BCE, holds widespread recognition as the world's first historian.

Herodotus, a pioneer in historical documentation, applied a logical and skeptical approach. He aimed to distinguish facts from myth and acknowledged his sources while trusting their reliability. This emphasis on trust reveals the subjectiv

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nature of Herodotus's work. Notably, he often used the term "history" to denote a "rational inquiry into the past," thus establishing its definition in Western historical writing.

Herodotus's historical interpretations were consistently shaped by his personal beliefs, particularly his conviction that the actions of gods manifested in all aspects of life. Consequently, an analysis of Herodotus's historical work reveals his subjectivity stemming from strong religious convictions and belief in divine and supernatural reasons behind events. His main objective was to ensure future generations would remember important accomplishments from the past. Additionally, he viewed establishing absolute truth as an unattainable endeavor.

Hence, it can be concluded that Herodotus's historical work, being so old, was only preserved through oral tradition. This means that history was passed down through the words of others. In contrast, Marc Bloch argues that history is not just a study of the past. Historians incorporate their own contemporary views and ideologies into their work. As Bloch puts it, "the past and present are intertwined."

Marc Bloch, a Jewish historian, dedicated himself to the liberal values of 20th century France. He founded a school of history known as total history, which incorporated psychology, geography, literature, economics, sociology, and history. Bloch firmly believed that history was an art form, distinct from science, as it relied on human intuition for interpretation and understanding.

The text emphasizes that even though historians may not intend to express their personal beliefs in their work, their subjective perspective is inevitably present. The author argues that historians should strive to determine what is true, false, and probable, but acknowledges that they are susceptible to the weaknesses and fallibility of human memory. Therefore, achieving complete

objectivity as a historian is problematic and unlikely.

In line with Marc Bloch's notion of Objective history, Keith Jenkins once stated that "History is a shifting, problematic discourse, ostensibly about an aspect of the world, the past that is produced by a group of present-minded workers". Jenkins firmly believed that every generation of historians constructs its own history, thus subjectively. He argued against writing from a specific perspective, whether intentional or unknowingly, as he deemed objectivity in history to be unattainable. In contrast to Jenkins, Edward Carr once said: "We must study the historian before we can study what he has done to the facts." This statement conveys the idea that a historian's account may not always be truthful due to subjective influences on their writing. Despite this, Carr still maintained that while achieving objectivity is challenging, a historian can strive for it and "hope[s] one could rise" to reach it. Consequently, it can be concluded that Edward Carr was an open-minded historian who closely analyzed and collected facts before critiquing others' work.

So, the author is stating that while objective history may have its challenges, it is not out of reach. In fact, having objective history would greatly enhance our understanding of the past. This concept is illustrated by a quote from the author: "When we refer to a historian as objective, we mean that they possess the ability to transcend their own societal and historical context and can envision the future in a way that provides them with a deeper and more enduring insight into the past."

In conclusion, according to Keith Jenkins, Herodotus, Marc Bloch, Edward Carr, and Albert Prior Fell, the past can

be considered sublime and its content is both invented and discovered. This implies that studying or reconstructing the past is a subjective endeavor that aids us in accomplishing a task. Even if we study the past, our egos prevent us from being objective and hinder the truth from being conveyed.

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