Now in its third edition, Narration and Knowledge is a classic work exploring the nature of historical knowledge and its reliance on narrative. Analytical philosopher Arthur C. Danto introduces the concept of "narrative sentences," in which an event is described with reference to later events (for example, "the Thirty Years' War began in 1618") and discusses why such sentences cannot be understood until the later event happens (no one could have said in 1618 that "the Thirty Years' War began today"). Danto compares narrative and scientific explanation and explores the legitimacy of historical laws. He also argues that history is an autonomous and humanist discipline incapable of being reduced to scientific descriptions.
Lydia Goehr's new introduction illustrates Danto's main arguments by questioning her very role, first, as an introducer of a book that has not yet been read by readers and, second, as an interpreter of a book written forty years ago. Frank Ankersmit's conclusion revisits the initial impact of the publication of Narration and Knowledge and considers its enduring legacy.
One of the few comprehensive attempts to approach basic problems in the philosophy of history from the viewpoint of analytical philosophy.
A substantial work which covers a wide range of philosophical problems about history, and indeed extends to a consideration of some logical features of our whole language of time. Philosophers will admire it for its lucidity and sophistication as well for the author's care and fertility of argument.
Afterwords: An Introduction to Arthur Danto's Narration and Knowledge (including his Analytical Philosophy of History)Lydia GoehrIntroduction to the Morningside EditionPreface to Analytical Philosophy of HistoryI Substantive and Analytical Philosophy of HistoryII A Minimal Characterization of HistoryIII Three Objections against the Possibility of Historical KnowledgeIV Verification, Verifiability, and Tensed SentencesV Temporal Language and Temporal ScepticismsVI Evidence and Historical RelativismVII History and ChronicleVIII Narrative SentenceIX Future-and Past-ContingenciesX Historical Explanation: The Problem of General LawsXI Historical Explanation: The Rôle of NarrativesXII Methodological Individualism and Methodological SocialismXIII Historical Understanding: The Problem of Other PeriodsXIV Historical Language and Historical RealityXV Narration and KnowledgeDanto's Philosophy of History in RetrospectiveFrank AnkersmitNotesIndex