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Theory of knowledge

Maria Gabriela Vega Davila

on 6 February 2013

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Transcript of History

Foundation Explain the past Theories of History Hindsight History is a selection of a selection Conclusion Despite the fact that history no longer exists, history seeks to reconstruct it on the basis of evidence that can be found in the present Evidence Why study history? History Sydney Slaven
& Gaby Vega Significance "The past is never dead.
It's not even past."
William Faulkner, 1897-1962 "The past is another country. They
do things differently there"
L.P Hartley, 1895-1972 "Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past"
George Orwell, 1903-50 History An account, mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools"
Ambrose Bierce, 1842-1914 We know that the study of history can only be known to the extent that we have evidence for it.
This results in a problem between having too little evidence or too much evidence.
And what if we misinterpret the evidence we are given? History is not a record of everything that happened in the past.
Here is where we encounter the "significant events”, how are they historically significant, and how have they impacted the society? History does not only needs to be described, it also needs to be needs to be explained and people need to understand it. After all history is more than just a catalogue of important dates and events. History gives us a sense of identity A country without a history is like a person without a memory. What is true of an individual is also true of a country. If as a community you don't know where you have come from, it will impossible for you to make any sense of the present or what you should do in the future. History is a defense against propaganda Since most governments take interest in the way history is taught in schools, is easy for national pride to dictate a one-sided interpretation of the past. It can also be exploited by a corrupt regime to legitimize its rule, justify territorial expansion, and whitewash past crimes. "Ignorance is the first requisite of the historian, ignorance which simplifies and clarifies, which selects and omits"
Lytton Starchery History enriches our understanding of human nature By showing us how human beings have thought and done in wide variety of circumstances. History focuses on the concrete and particular and reminds us that human behavior can never be fully explained in terms of neat and tidy models. self-realising expectations How can the past be known? History is concerned with the past and a problem with this is that it no longer exists. When it comes to the question of whether or not history is objective, we should make a distinction between the past and our knowledge of the past. Knowledge is problematic because we can know the past only by reconstructing it on the basis of evidence that exists in the present. To what extent a trained historian can approach the ideal of objectivity? Primary Source A primary source is one that is written by someone who was there at the time, while a secondary source is a later, second-hand account of what happened. How can the four knowledge tools of perception, language, reason and emotion distort the production of a primary source such as a diary? Fallible eye-witness Social bias Another problem with primary sources is that they sometimes reflect the interest of one particular social group rather than society as a whole. Deliberate manipulation This comes when a primary source is manipulated by a government and other interest groups to change the “facts” of history. It is impossible to investigate history as a whole- historians have to make a selection from their evidence. History is twice removed from what actually happened This bias can be compensated for, if a historian is aware of it. Advantages of Hindsight An event that might at the time seem unimportant, later in hindsight may be viewed as quite significant and so hindsight can help us determine an events significance. Ways of describing events may not have been used at the time of its occurrence. Hindsight also allows for us to make divisions in our history by categorizing periods of time. The history that shows up in our books is also influenced by the time period in which it was written and by the result of the event. Disadvantages of Hindsight Hindsight can distort our interpretation of the past leading to hindsight bias. Many historians can look back on an event and deem that it was inevitable because of this bias The Problems of Bias History is more influenced by biases than the natural sciences 1) Topic Choice Bias
2) Confirmation Bias
3)National Bias The ‘great person’ theory of history This theory suggests that if one or more powerful leader had not existed, then history would have had very different results. Collingwood on empathy Historian R.G. Collingwood spurred the idea that if a historical investigation primarily looks at the individuals, then we need to go beyond the outside events and investigate their motives behind the actions. However, many other historians feel that it is too difficult to empathize with leaders such as Hitler. But how important is an individual? Economic determinism This theory claims that economics are the driving force of history, that they determine its course and that it is most important to track major inventions rather than great leaders. The role of chance Some people think there is no actual meaning in history, that everything happens by chance. This seems a bit implausible, but many historians agree that chance is one of the many factors that when compiled together, make history. Most historians can come to an agreement of the bedrock, but when it comes to the significance of the events it is then when they start having different opinions. For there are many different interpretations of the past, and trying to determine which one is the best is a matter of judgment rather than proof Thank you. A Pluralistic Approach History has been used by dominant cultures or countries to spread their views and ideas Cubist theory To what extent do you think that your country's history has been influenced by its geography? To what extent do you think what we see in history books is the story of winners or dominant cultures? The psychologist Nicholas Humphrey has argued that if Newton had not existed someone else would have discovered the law of gravity, but if Shakespeare had not existed no one would have come up with Hamlet. Do you think that great historical figures are more like Newton or Shakespeare?
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