History and Historians

  • Biology sets the basic parameters for the behaviour and capacities of Homo sapiens. The whole of History takes place within the bounds of this biological arena. - Consequently, in order to understand how Sapiens behave, we must describe the historical evolution of their actions.
    • The Stone Age should more accurately be called the Wood Age because most of the tools used by ancient hunter-gatherers were made of wood
    • History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was ploughing fields and carrying water buckets.
    • It is an iron rule of History that what looks inevitable in hindsight was far from obvious at the time. Today is no different.
    • There is absolutely no proof that human well-being inevitably improves as history rolls along.
    • History and speculation
      • Historians can speculate, but not provide any definitive answer.
        • They can describe how Christianity took over the Roman Empire, but they cannot explain why this particular possibility was realised.
    • What is the difference between describing ‘how’ and explaining ‘why’? To describe ‘how’ means to reconstruct the series of specific events that led from one point to another. To explain ‘why means to find causal connections that account for the occurrence of this particular series of events to the exclusion of all others.
      • To describe ‘how’ means to reconstruct the series of specific events that led from one point to another. To explain ‘why means to find causal connections that account for the occurrence of this particular series of events to the exclusion of all others.