by George Good
let's delve into the very concept of history
Unfortunately, this "simple" question is raised too rarely and is almost never answered clearly. This raises problems of mutual understanding even among researchers who are skeptical of TI. This does not mean that many more or less clever words have not been written about the topic of what a story is. There is a philosophy of history (such allegedly existed already in the fabulous "antique" time: see the book of AF Losev "Ancient Philosophy of History" (Moscow: Nauka, 1977) and well, within the framework of traditional ideas, the developed history of historiography. Osip Lvovich Vainshtein "Western European Medieval Historiography" (Moscow-Leningrad: Nauka, 1964) and some other traditional studies on the history of the creation of history, I will refer below. If you read them from the point of view of historical analytics, an interesting picture of the creation of a historical model of the past emerges in a relatively later - according to traditional ideas - time: starting from the middle of the XIV century.
But first I want to clarify that in the humanities it is almost impossible to create models using a certain number of equations, inequalities, or other mathematical objects, as is customary in engineering, astrophysics, physics and other natural and applied sciences. Too complicated object? human society, and even traceable over a long time and in all the diversity of spaces and civilizations? subject to review and description. Even our modern society, seemingly directly observed by scientists, is a very complex system, although some aspects and parameters of its Activity (demography, for example, or the economy) are trying to be mathematically modeled. But most often models of complex systems arise in each of us in our heads? of course, blurry? and then we try to express them in words, to describe, realizing that any of our descriptions is finite and not capable of absolutely adequately conveying our ideas about an almost infinitely complex object of research.
For me, history is primarily what is known about the past, and not the historical past itself. History ? it is all that we know or think we know about the past. This clear distinction between the past and history is not observed by most historians, and I want to emphasize it here and put it at the head of the discussion. For example, the German historian Golo Mann in his article "Historical Sciences Yesterday and Today", included in the 10th volume of Mayer's Encyclopedia (1972), directly says:
"The concept of 'history' has a double meaning: it implies what happened in the past, but also the activity of the historian, cognition, representation, learning."
I would add to this description of the traditional use of the word "history" by historians themselves a form of organizing the work of historians with the entire system of departments, institutes, councils, editorial offices, etc., as well as the academic hierarchy with its institutes of academic titles and honorary positions from an assistant and history teachers, museum workers and ordinary archaeologists to professors and academicians, directors of research institutes and heads of departments of history. All this is also perceived as history by historians themselves.
From the point of view of historical analytics and generally the verifiability of history and chronology, it is important to have such a concept of history, when the statement “history is not true” would not be absurd. But the past, in principle, cannot be wrong. Everything that happened in the past interests us primarily not from the standpoint of assessing what happened on a scale of good / bad, progressive / reactionary, or any other (such an assessment is possible only outside of history within the framework of ethical and moral systems, ideologies, etc.). ), but knowledge or ignorance about what happened. After all, we do not believe that to be or not to be an academician - historian or director of the Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences can be true or not. Only our idea of the past can be wrong.
In other words, a story for me? it is a model of the past (but not the past itself), a model that arises in every person thinking about the past, including historians, and most often described by the latter with the help of texts of various lengths and different forms: books and articles, diagrams and chronological tables , statistics and photographs, pictures of artists and films. The past was and our knowledge of it is very limited. There is history and we, in principle, can know it quite well (if only we want it and agree to spend our time on learning it).
For historians with a clear distinction between history and the past? big problems. They are demonstrated, for example, by the position of Benedetto Croce (1866? 1952), the Italian historian and philosopher of history, author of the book "History of Europe in the 19th century". In his book "Theory and Practice of Historiography" (Moscow: Languages of Russian Culture, 1998), speaking about establishing the boundary between history and chronicle, he writes on page 14 that it
“Makes it possible to revise the most banal thesis about the primacy of the chronicle in relation to history. “Primo annates (chronicle) fuere, post Historiae