Is There a Future for History?: On the Need for a Philosophy of History and Historiography


  • Harry Jansen Royal Netherlands Historical Society (reviews)



Theoretical History, History of Ideas, Universities, Students, Philosophy, Historiography


Within the philosophy of history the main focus has been on problems regarding the ideal typical division between the sciences and the humanities. However speculation on ideal forms risks neglecting the epistemic problems regarding historical research, writing history and education. Therefore the philosophy of history needs a new dimension by supplementing it with a line of thinking Harry Jansen would like to call the philosophy of history and historiography, in short phh.


Very much like the painter Velazquez, who in his Las Meninas invites people to look into the mirror and see themselves as rulers, Harry Jansen wants to invite historians to look into the mirror of historiography and see themselves as users of epistemic tools. This requires the historian to view historical interpretations from a comparative perspective. Historical texts not only inform us about the past, they can also be seen as providing insights into the intellectual operation of historical production. These insights show not only the richness of historiography but above all they provide the historian with the theoretical tools with which that richness can be acquired.


This article is part of the forum 'Theoretical History'.


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How to Cite

Jansen, H. (2012). Is There a Future for History?: On the Need for a Philosophy of History and Historiography. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, 127(4), 121–129.