Narrative Logic:A Semantic Analysis of the Historian's by Franklin Ankersmit

By Franklin Ankersmit

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32 external questions it may give rise to. I do not know whether any philosopher of history has ever expressis verbis endorsed this view of the ideal narratio, but in his Autobiography Collingwood has come close to it. He wrote that for a correct interpretation of a text we should always be aware of the questions it was supposed to answer2. Thus there is a tendency to see a text (the narratio) as essentially a sequence of questions (implicitly of explicitly formulated in the text) and answers. We could infer from this view of the narratio the requirement that the ideal narratio should answer all its internal questions.

It is e1 and not s’s being in state A which causes s to be B. There are laws of the type (x) (Px Bx, (x) (Qx Cx) etc. where “P”, “Q” etc. refer to the facts that e1 , e2 etc. have happened to s. Obviously, these laws do not validate a more comprehensive one that subsumes them all. On the other hand, Danto contradicts his previous assertion that no such comprehensive law is possible by rightly pointing out that we can conceive of a general law of the following type: (x) (Pt-3x & Qt-2x & Rt-3 x Dtx), where the indices t-3, t-2 etc.

White draws a distinction between “chronicle” and “history”8. The chronicle gives a factual account, not only of events but also of conditions of a more general character, such as the material circumstances under which people lived in the past. The facts mentioned in the “chronicle” are causally related by “history”. ” If the narratio taken as a whole is to be “true”, two requirements should be met: 1) the facts mentioned in the narratio should be accurately described in it, 2) only on the basis of wellconfirmed empirical laws may the causal relation between the facts mentioned in the narratio be said to exist.

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