"But one thing is certain in this respect, (1) that it is always difficult for the scholar with a philosophic temper to separate his own preoccupations from those which are the proper preoccupations of the scholar who deals with history.
The easiest way to do this is to look at what each side claims to be doing: the historiographer who looks at a historical problem in terms of its own possibilities for explanation, and the philosopher who seeks to look back at history in terms of the more modern types of rationally grounded interest concerned with knowledge and epistemology. The first part of the sentence is a philosophical assertion that we are going to address immediately. It is true that the historian of historiography never starts off with an interest in philosophy. We rarely begin to study historiography until we have already formed a philosophy of human existence and thought of various sorts.
It is then that we begin to distinguish the possible from the improbable, the necessary from the accidental, and so on. But the philosopher still might ask, “Where does this come from?” or “Why is it here?” or “What kind of world does this give rise to?” Furthermore, the historian might also ask, “Why did they do this?” or “How did they manage to do that?”
Because the historian of historiography starts out from a set of prephilosophic assumptions about human existence and thought about history, these questions already have a place. And the answers to such questions are not only philosophical in nature, they are of a type that closely resembles philosophical answers to questions about the state of knowledge and understanding.
But when the historian does eventually seek to “separate his own preoccupations from those which are the proper preoccupations of the scholar who deals with history,” it is not enough simply to take the side of the philosophic historian and write about history philosophically. (2) For this is not what the philosopher of historiography is doing. What he does is explicitly rhetorical and possibly even polemical in nature.
Indeed, at least some of the philosophical “questions” that historians ask have been created for the purposes of debating and adjudicating different theoretical positions that claim to be the best way to explain different aspects of history. (3) The purpose of the historiographer is the creation of a new historical knowledge, not an attempt to learn about 0b46394aab