Theory Of Knowledge Paper

1615 words - 7 pages

History is most often associated with past events, other associations being hypothetical : interpreting "what if" theories and revisionist history. The human sciences deals with multiple fields, but those fields all generally include the factor of the human population or the human individual, hence the name "human" sciences. It is said that a historian's task is to understand the past, while the human scientist's task is to change the future. Yet there are counterclaims to these descriptions of a historian's and a human scientist's task. These descriptions may not be completely true in the areas of knowledge. In the areas of knowledge of history and the human sciences, individuals come to know the task of a historian and human scientist through language and reason.
Historians come to know the past through surviving records and texts. This is the language aspect of history. It is through the language of those texts, that individuals come to know what the past was like. A famous example is the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Historians came to know what the hieroglyphs were saying mainly through the Rosetta Stone, an object that contained Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek in the form of three texts with the same content. Had the Rosetta Stone not been found, historians may still be struggling to understand hieroglyphs today. This way of knowing though has flaws. Due to history being learned through records, texts, or essentially sources of information, an individual may have written events that diverge from the actuality. The saying "only the winners write history" stems from this flaw. The winners document the events from their perspective, and erase the opponents historical records, leaving only the winner's records for the future. In this scenario, biased content is likely to be in those surviving records. Sometimes, the loser's records survive the destruction and the content brings an entirely different outlook on the events that happened. The Vikings who ventured into European countries such as Ireland and England were depicted as devilish with horns on their helmets as well as being extremely violent and cruel. The reason for this is that the Vikings attacked churches in those countries for silver, and the members of the churches wrote about these attacks, describing from the losing side and making the Vikings to be terrifying in their records. In actuality, the Vikings did not wear horned helmets and they were not overly cruel and violent. It just so happened that they attacked churches which contained silver. The Vikings did not purposely try to attack churches in the first place, but because of the text written by the church members, the Vikings were wrongly depicted and historians came to know the past through those bias texts. If historians had not found texts that prove otherwise, Vikings would still be considered as a violent and cruel race. The purpose of a historian isn't only trying to understand the...

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