20. The purpose of doing history: to create knowledge of the past or to inform where we are headed in the future?

20. The purpose of doing history: to create knowledge of the past or to inform where we are headed in the future?

 
 
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“We have to be ‘objective,’ but objectivity can only be about what exists; you cannot be objective about what doesn’t yet exist.”

—big mike

Listen: iTunes, Spotify, Mixcloud | Transcript

In this episode:

00:00 What is a revolution in the flow of history? What does history have to do with what is possible, or rather, what is thought to be possible?

11:09 How do ‘bourgeois’ historians do history in a way that makes present concepts seem eternal or ahistorical (e.g. the ‘market’)? If bourgeois historians are attempting to merely ‘describe’ the past, what are the descriptive laws a socialist historian uses to tell history? What is history really about for a socialist?

22:03 How can history itself be a practice? What is the purpose of the practice of history? If history is a practice with certain goals, can it still be objective? Is bourgeois history objective?

31:00 What are the hidden premises and aims of bourgeois history? What does it have to do with assumptions about counterfactual situations (i.e., “if x didn’t happen, then y…”)
and how does this limit or expand our sense of what’s possible?

40:58 How are we meant to deal with history in educational institutions? How should history be taught to young people so they can go on to solve problems?

Further Readings:

G.W.F. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit

Phillip Pettit, On the People’s Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy