The historian’s fallacy is an informal fallacy that occurs when one assumes that decision Fischer did not suggest that historians should refrain from retrospective analysis in their work, but he reminded historians that their subjects were not. Full text of “Historians Fallacies Toward A Logic Of Historical Thought” ; quoted in Roger A. Fischer, “Racial Segregation in Ante Bellum New Orleans,”. HISTORIANS’. FALLACIES. Toward a Logic of Historical Thought by David Hackett Fischer. HARPER & ROW, PUBLISHERS. NEW YORK, EVANSTON, AND.

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Fischer seems particularly to relish razzing historians of some repute: All the classic examples of the Baconian fallacy derive from the work of an earlier generation.

And if this is so, Mr.

Though the name is objectionable in this respect, I have adopted it because it is standard, on H. It is subjective and individual.

But swarms of suffering undergraduates are asked to study a set of pedantical essays, half of which are exaggerated arguments for the rattiness of Basil and the other half are overdrawn portraits of Basil as a fink.

There are many more practicable adverbs — who, fa,lacies, where, what, how — which are more specific and more satisfactory. Still, the problem of locating a logic of historical thinking defies a direct approach.


It consists in the precise quantification of imprecise entities. Carr’s falacies epigram can bear repeating many times: German soldiers and statesmen, before they made war upon their various neighbors, formed the habit of conducting elaborate kriegspiele on blackboards and sandtables, which must have been as much fun as the real thing.


But it is, perhaps, a lesson which they can teach to a distinguished sister discipline.

I read this as a reference for a paper I am writing for English class. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. As an example, he cited the well-known argument that Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor should have been predictable in the United States because of the many indications that an attack was imminent.

Rarely does a book about historians and their writings deserve such praise. Johnson’s irritable opinion that “questioning is not a mode of conversation among gentlemen. Mullett, in The American Historical Review 72 Scientific activity is not the indiscriminate amassing of truths; science is selective and seeks the truths that count most. They are the business of this chapter.

Their works included Francis B. Not to questions about everything. And the first question does not require an answer to the second. There are many objective truths to be told about the past — great and vital truths that fsllacies relevant and even urgent to the needs of mankind.

I never even thought of it like that before. Faklacies, Reconstruction in Texas ; Thomas S. But old error still fisdher, deep in the dark recesses of every historian’s heart. No historical method is in any sense fischr alternative to heavy labor in historical sources.

The object is not to de- scribe the ways in which a traveler might get lost, but rather to identify a few common ways in which others have actually gone wrong. A fact is a true descriptive statement about past events.

Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought by David Hackett Fischer

The historian writes of the Norman conquest or the American war of independence as if what happened was in fact bound to happen, and as if it was his business simply to explain what happened and why” ibid. In an elaborate and sophisticated study of Andrew Johnson and the American Reconstruction, which was written in the years of the Eisenhower “consensus,” McKitrick wondered if “an imaginary peace-making” might have been arranged between two influential Americans — Wade Hampton, a supposititious spokesman for the South Carolina “establishment,” and John Andrew, allegedly of the Massachusetts “establishment.


This book, which I loved, actually unfitted me for life in America. Retrieved 26 December They work best when applied sentence by sentence, line by line. He says that the “why” questions deal with metaphysical issues that yield no fruitful or definitive results.

Fischer is not a man of diplomatic language: Without questions of some sort, a historian is condemned to wander aimlessly through dark corridors of learning. Well he tells us. Fallacies of QuestionFraming 3. Paris,5. Nothing in this chapter is unique to historical inquiry.

Then he proceeds to the following hypotheses: Wedgwood writes, “The older historians con- centrated more on narrative than on analysis, on the How rather than the Why of history. Each of these proud disciplines has much to teach the others — and much to learn as well.

Both of these forms of servility are regrettably common in historical scholarship.