philosophy in light of history....

I am currently reading “The Historian’s craft”
by Marc Bloch…

I came across a couple of sentences that could be applied
equally to both history and Philosophy…

‘’…The most indulgent have said that history is both
unprofitable and unsound; others, with a severity which admits
of no compromise, that it is pernicious. One of them, and not
the least celebrated, has declared it (history) ‘‘the most
dangerous compound yet contrived by the chemistry of the intellect’’

Replace the word history with the word philosophy and the sentence
still works…perhaps even more so…

what does it take to study history?

In studying history, one seeks out all kinds of idea’s,
experiences, knowledge, and practices of the who, what,
when, where, how and why of the historian field of study…
and is this not true of philosophy? The study of philosophy
and the field of history cover the same ground… the idea’s,
experiences, knowledge and practices of human beings…

History does not and cannot leave its study of history to
limits… and by that I mean, in a historian study, anything
that might help the historian to understand the period
of the historian studies, is studied…

so at times, the study of history investigates all sort of
things that might not be apparent to the average person…
one might include climate or psychology or plant life
in hopes of clearly understanding that particular field of historian study…

and as philosophers, we must do the same… we must investigate
that which seems to impact our understanding of philosophy…
and so we might in philosophical studies, investigate
climate, plant life, political structures, prisons(as Foucault did)
or some other area’s that don’t seem like philosophical material but
is… and that creates another understanding…as philosophy is
the study of humans, anything that is human falls under the study
of philosophy…but we cannot fall into the trap of, for instance
those who study languages, that we think the study of language
is enough to qualify as philosophy…philosophy that remains
exclusive, solely to the subject at hand, fails in philosophy…

for it isn’t enough to reduce language to its basics, you have to
connect that language with other aspects of human existence…
it isn’t as if we are our language, our language is part of us
and to make sense of language, we have to think about
the history of human beings, how and why language become
language? It isn’t enough to write about how language impacts
us, we have work out and understand, how we impact language…

science and history and philosophy and social studies all work best
when it isn’t studying a living, breathing object… for science
and history and philosophy and social studies to work best, it
does it best work as autopsy, the dissection of previously alive
subjects…philosophy and history and political science and science
all work best with dead subjects, not live ones…
the story of science is the study of pulling flowers out of the
ground and studying that dead flower…to capture something at one
specific time and place… and that is best done, while something is dead,
not alive…

it is far easier to study the history of the battle of Waterloo because
it is a dead event… then to study the events of Jan. 6 2021, the
attempted overthrow of the American government…because that
event is still current… the players are still engaged in the events
of Jan. 6, 2021…people are still being sentences to jail and congress
is still holding hearings and people are fundraising over the event of
Jan. 6th…it is still alive… and how do you study a living event?

and this is true of philosophy… It is far easier to study Plato then it is
to study whatever the hell is going on right now in philosophy…

and as philosophy, history, science, political science all flow
through and is a part of history, which is simply the flow
of philosophy from yesterday to today into tomorrow…
to study philosophy as we study history is to attempt to
understand why those beliefs instead of other beliefs
and how that flows into tomorrow…

life is messy… as the commercial says…and to study
the events of today, either as history or philosophy
or science or political science, is messy… and most people
don’t want messy, they want nice, clean, easy to understand
experiences, idea’s, practices, and events… but that is
how we are to understand our current situation… for that is
current and current is messy…

approach history and philosophy as living, breathing
idea’s and experiences is not only the best way to do philosophy,
but really the only way…


I read your whole post.

The only thing that comes to mind is that :
History is supposed to be a record of events.
It requires will, truth, language, evaluation, memory,
and also requires other things that don’t come to my mind right now.

History is never that.
It is a narrativization of a thing that is not a story.
It’s an attempt to organise the unrelatable.
And it is a way to convince ourselves that its all suppose to mean something.

It is also biased, partisan and partial.

History is never that.
It is a narrativization of a thing that is not a story.
It’s an attempt to organise the unrelatable.
And it is a way to convince ourselves that its all suppose to mean something.

It is also biased, partisan and partial.
K; and this is also an description of philosophy…


K; thank you Dan…you are, of course, right…but what was the
basis of that events?

and we ask the exact same thing of philosophy…why those
beliefs and not others? For example, why belief in god instead
of no belief? I don’t believe in god, why this instead of believing
in god? Why hold certain beliefs but not others?

Why this belief instead of another is the heart of philosophy…
and recall that actions are driven by beliefs… so behind
every single action is a belief of some sort… if you don’t
believe, why take that specific action? Hense our beliefs drive
our actions… so, in asking ourselves about the historical events
of say, Napoleon, we can just as easily ask, what drove him to
action? What values, love, peace, violence, hatred, greed,
anger, among such values, what values drove him to action?
and why did he pick those values? If you think of France before
Napoleon, say up to 1790 and France afterwards, say 1810,
France had been completely changed… as was most of Europe…
all because one person held certain values…

If Napoleon had not destroyed, and he did, destroy the
traditional values of France during his years, would we
have the modern world of today?

I would have to say no, for without Napoleon,
our world would still be fixated on the values that had driven
countries for centuries… the traditional values of king, god
and country…

The modern world comes about because of the change of
values that came about during and after the French
revolution… so let us explore those values and how they
changed the world…

and so, in the end, there is no difference, at least to me,
between history and philosophy… they both study what
it means to be human… just slightly different aspects
of being human…


the interesting thing is that both history and philosophy
come from the exact same word in the original Greek,
inquiry…which according to my handy dandy dictionary means:

Inquiry: the act of asking for information…
an official investigation…

notice it doesn’t say for what purpose, it just says, asking for
information…so when we engage in “inquiry” we are asking for
information…and we begin our inquiry with the 6 questions,
who, what, where, when, why and how…

every single inquiry, be it science, history or philosophy, sociology,
biology, physics… all begin with those 6 words/questions…

all inquires, all questions of existence begin with those 6 words,
who, what, when, where, why and how…

so instead of saying, I know… I have a fact… (which may or may not
be true or right) and going from there, begin with a question,
who, what, when, where, why and how…and go from there…


so, as an historian, one seeks evidence of the history
in question… for example, in the Middle Ages, we seek
documents that tell us something about that particular age…
we would use church documents, both local and international,
we would seek out within those documents the information
we seek… which is something we should note… we come into
an investigation, an inquiry with a “set” understanding of
the time we are interested in…so, for example during the
Medieval times, we could see them as the “Dark ages” a dark period
between two ages of light… our preconceived notions of what the
Middle Ages were, interferes with our understanding of the middle ages…
In other words, if we can’t get past our own preconceived notions of
the Middle Ages, we will get a wrong understanding of the Middle Ages…

and this is true of, well everything… If we are stuck with preconceived
notions of say, America, we will misunderstand what exactly America is…
and this in part, why conservatives have such a failure of understanding
of what is the American ideal… if we were to look at America with
fresh eyes, not with the eyes of one who already knows what they are
looking at, but without any preconceive notions, we will get closer to
what America actually is and stand for…
The conservative see’s America with preconceived notions…
They see the constitution as a fixed and set document,
but that clearly isn’t how the founding fathers saw it…
the constitution was written in such a way as to allow changes
and advancement in the environment…so if the American “environment”
changes, the constitution was able to change and adapt to those changes…

If one of the founding fathers came back today, say Jefferson,
and tell him that we are unable to change aspects of the constitution
because it is “set and fixed” he would have laughed at you…

The entire point of the constitution as written, is to change
and adapt the document, the constitution, to the ever changing
realities we face today…

for example, the constitution was created in 1787…
but do we still practice medicine from 1787?
do we engage in slavery that was practiced in 1787?
do we hold women to be property, as was practiced in 1787?
must we have property to vote as the constitution required in 1787?
In 1787, did we have cars, planes, trains, computers, telephones,
TV sets, mass media? NO, of course not, so how can we practice laws
and decrees from 1787 about modern technology?

How does a constitution written in 1787 or 235 years ago, still determine our
vastly different lives today? To try to live your life as they did in 1787, is
insane but that is exactly what conservatives demand when they claim in
a strict constitutionalist approach to the constitution…
to determine/RUN our lives, our modern technical lives according to
a document written 235 years ago… that doesn’t make sense,
but that is exactly what conservatives demand in their strict
constitutional…strict adherence to the constitution regardless
of the vast social, political, economic and philosophical changes
within the society/state since then…

or to put this another way, when I was born in 1959, and I hate
the changes that America has gone through, I might, if I were
conservative, demand that America returns to the America that I
knew in 1959… so all the changes, social, political, economic
and philosophical changes that has happen since then be negated,
null and void, gay marriage, the laws about weed, blacks and whites
being married… all of those “new” laws be voided to return to the
laws and attitude of 1959… well, that shit isn’t going to happen…
but the conservative wants a return to the laws and attitude of 1787,
in their desire to hold on to the constitution of 1787…
that is what strict constitutionalist wants… keeping the laws of 1787
alive and well, in 2022…

and how does that make any sense? to a rational person, it makes
no sense to keep to a constitution written in 1787… but the
conservative rarely if ever makes sense…

so the conservative will say, we must not allow abortion because
it wasn’t specifically mentioned in the constitution…but think about it…
the conservatives, as usual, will isolate something out of context and claim
that has fact… for example, Biden has created inflation… and that
sentence can only make sense if you take it out of context and ignore
the past in which the foundations for inflation can be found in
the failed policies of IQ45… putting something into context will
remove the attempt of the conservative to “spin” events…

context is everything… and within history, context is everything…

so here we use philosophy to make sense of history…

now one of the things I wrote about earlier was about
documents… let us examine philosophy and see if philosophy
as documents like history does? and the answer is yes,
we can use various philosophical books such as Nietzsche
“Beyond good and evil” as a philosophical document…and just
any document, we can ‘‘cross examine’’ it for information…
we can compare ‘‘beyond good and evil’’ with other
philosophical documents like Heidegger’s ‘‘Being and Time’’… and better
understand both what Nietzsche was about and what Heidegger
was about…

Which is exactly the same way we use historical documents,
we compare and contrast documents to put them into context…
and we can do this with historical, social, political and philosophical

and we can compare and contrast documents to the past
and to our present…we can see/compare the present
times with the hopes of our founding fathers, for example
the very opening statement of the constitution…


and right there lays out the changing nature of the constitution…
''in order to form a more perfect union…it doesn’t say the constitution
was fixed or set, it was meant to be changed and evolve with
the current environment…so what does this mean in practical terms?

it means we can change and adapt parts of the constitution
to adapt to our current situation…which means we adapt
and change the constitution to fit our current needs…
and the gaping hole is the attempt to force the 2cd amendment
to hold true today…the second amendment made sense
in the times it was written, but it makes no sense today…
it has no use today given the modern government overwhelming
force that it can force on to the people…an individual or a small
group of people cannot prevent the government from doing
anything it wants by guns… the historical basis for the
second amendment no longer exists…and we must adapt and
change to face reality…remove the second amendment to
better fit these modern times… where we have no need or
use for guns…to promote guns today is no different than
demanding we return to the horse and buggy times because
it ‘‘fits’’ into the constitution ‘‘better’’…

This is one way we can unite philosophy and history…
explore the historical contents of events with context
and philosophy…


And those beliefs are chiefly governed, at least in part,
by the human moral compass of morality, ethics, virtues, etc.

The way to make a man kill another man,
is wrapped up in how God commands it be done.

God is a belief and a moral compass.
Cults, oh the cults.
Culty shit goin down.

Sometimes culture mutates and inverts.
There’s a historic idea to consider.

History would be fine if it were not for humans.

History gives you Nazisim & Israel, the persecution of Palestinians and the assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh

On the other hand it gives us the knowledge that we are all immigrants.

What would you want to do with that knowledge?

Philosophy for the last 300 years has been using science
as the guide for philosophy… using the scientific method
as a guide for philosophical thought… and I have always
been uneasy about this…I just was never sure as to why…

but recently, I have come to the conclusion that the method
we philosophers should be using is the historical method,
not the scientific method…and what is the difference?

the scientific method is, according to my handy dandy dictionary:

Scientific method: a method of procedure that has characterized
natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic
observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation,
testing and modification of hypotheses…

we can immediately see why we can’t use the Scientific method
within philosophy… how do we systemically observe values such
as love and hope and anger? There is no way that I know of to
do philosophy as science does, which is to time, measure, weight, values…

Science can time, measure, weight such things as the Sun or
the human body… values are not physical objects that we can
make scientific measurements on…as noted, science can time,
measure, weigh the Sun, or on rats or the speed of the Stars…
we cannot use philosophy do work out what the value of the Sun is,
or what value is love… and science cannot work out that value either…

but historically, we can understand such values as love, hope,
peace… we can compare and contrast these values with each other
and other values and make a value judgement…and the historical
method will allow us to make that judgement, but the
scientific method will not…
so what exactly is the historical method?

according to wiki: ‘‘the term historical method refers to
the collection of techniques and guidelines that historians use
to research and write histories of the past. Secondary source
primary sources, and material evidence such as that derived from
archeology may all be drawn on, and the historian’s skill lies
in identifying these sources, evaluating their relative
authority, and combining their testimony appropriately in order
to construct an accurate and reliable picture of past events
and environments.’’

This technique offers us a far better understanding of philosophy
then does the scientific method…because how does one
time, weigh, measure values like love and peace?

but you can compare and contrast love to other values
and you can posit what the value of love means by
comparing one’s own life and other lives by comparing
and contrasting love within our own and other lives…

and so we must reject the scientific method for
the historical method and I believe that philosophy will
gain the ground that it should have already gained…
in other words, philosophy will be as far along as science
if we use the historical method and not the scientific


The value of philosophy is exactly the same value as
history… we are removing superstitions, habits, myths,
irrationality, false belief… an example of this is
“The donation of Constantine” which is a forged imperial decree
by which the 4th century emperor Constantine the Great,
supposedly transferred authority over Rome and the western
part of the Roman empire to the Pope…

This forgery was accepted as real for centuries… composed
most likely in the 8th century, it was especially used in the
13th century to support the claims of the Pope… it was finally
disproved around 1440… and based on this forgery, centuries of
actions were acted upon…

and this is true of us all… we hold false beliefs that we don’t
question or challenge and we are lead, like the believers in
the “Donation” into acting falsely… and this is exactly what philosophy
does…by questioning or by challenging our basic values, we can have
beliefs that exist within truth and not being false… History is the
pursuit of the “truth”, whatever that may be and this is true of
philosophy… Pilate asks, “what is the truth?” and in philosophy
as in history, we can answer that question… but only if we question
and challenge our basic beliefs and values…and by the historical
method, we can evaluate and investigate what values we have
and what values we should hold…


As Bloch says,

"The formula of Ranke is famous: the historian has no other aim
than to describe things ‘‘as they happened, wie es eigentlich gewesen’’.
Herodotus had earlier expressed it: ‘‘to narrate what was’’

but this part is not as impartial as is claimed… even by the
“impartial” choices we make, we can “put our thumb on history”
for example, what I choose to put into my historical account,
can influence what history is made of… let us say, in my account
of the “American Civil War” by using either the southern accounts
or the northern accounts, I can influence you into holding certain beliefs
about the Civil War… I can create or influence you into thinking the
Civil War was a ‘‘just’’ war or an “unjust” war…
my own biases will dictate what sources I use and those choices
influence you into holding certain values… so don’t go holding the
belief that a historian is an impartial observer attempting to
just “tell the story”… and a philosopher is no different…
we offer up philosophy in an attempt to impact or influence
the reader into holding or believing in certain values…

which leads us to the point… history as with philosophy, has
an agenda to achieve… …

but not only does history along with philosophy, have an agenda,
it is not an impartial event… it is attempting to interpret
the world… history and philosophy is trying to not only understand
the world but to change it… the process of history and philosophy
is in interpreting the world… the study of history implies a passivity
with history, that in fact, isn’t in there… the study of history/philosophy
is an active engagement with history/philosophy…

we are engaged with history and philosophy as an active agent…
and as such, we are engaged in understanding from being
this active agent… we think about love and by being active
with this word, we can come up with some thoughts about it…
we cannot discern what love is by being passive, inactive…

so, we have an event like Waterloo, this event changed
the course of history… so we don’t approach this event
from an passive engagement… we approach it from an active
standpoint… what does the battle of “Waterloo” mean to us,
personally… should Napolean have won that battle?
and why? our engagement with history/philosophy must
be personal… an personal engagement with history/philosophy…
and not only by asking what happened in the battle and its aftermath,
but what was the significance of the battle of ''Waterloo"… what
did it mean to us, to me?