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Why Do We Need To Learn About History

1603 words - 7 pages

A historian is someone that studies a series of events in order to create a reconstruction of the past to be able to explain the present and speculate about the future. In contrast, a human scientist interprets said events which are associated with human beings. To approach the prescribed chosen essay title I will focus on one main knowledge issue and others that will arise from it: To what extent is the purpose of historians or human scientists to have an impact on the way in which the community we live in behaves? While looking at history, psychology, reason, sense perception and emotion, we will see that history isn’t necessarily the study of the past and that human scientists are not necessarily looking to change the future.
In order to determine the purpose of human scientists, we should analyze whether the purpose of history is linked to the purpose of science or not. Despite the fact that both history and the human sciences use reason as a way of knowing, it is a common assumption that any type of science is a more reliable source. On the other hand, history is said to be less reliable as the memory is said to be fallible and evidence is ambiguous, and on many occasions it is said to rely on observation, which can be an error depending on different sense perceptions of the events witnessed. For example, let’s say we discover Stonehenge. From a distance of 5m you state that there is clear evidence that it had originally been transported by people to the place it now is because of the marks it has. However, my myopia tells me that there is no evidence, as I see everything blurred out. This example clearly shows why the human eye is not reliable, as myopia, for example, is common amongst society. On the other hand, human sciences are very broad, so let’s focus on a more specific form of it; psychology. When revising, I’ve been looking at the different methods that I’ve learnt throughout the course and that can determine the validity of the arguments within research. Experiments, for example, have a greater reliability as there usually is an independent and a dependent variable as well as control groups, meaning that in many cases there are correlational relationships that show such validity and that the results can later on be compared with the obtained in the control. Moreover, there are other research methods such as interviews or surveys which aren’t as reliable due to the fact that participants may show demand characteristics or self-serving bias and therefore, the results will be negatively influenced. In addition, observation and case studies are frequent in research too, but how can human nature be observed objectively? I particularly believe that objectivity is partial, and that one individual by himself cannot be totally objective. This is why in most observational or case studies either more than one person is required in order to extract a common judgement about the situation, or the triangulation method, in which research methods...

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