What Is History?

Topics: Future, Past, Time Pages: 2 (526 words) Published: September 3, 2014
Cedric Craig
US History
4th Pd

What is history? That has been a question philosophers and historians have been asking for centuries. But really what is history? Webster dictionary defines history as "acts, ideas, or events that will or can shape the course of the future." Is that all history is a series of events leading up the present moment and then on to the future.

English historian and philosopher, R.G. Collingwood said "History is for human self-knowledge. Knowing yourself means knowing, first, what it is to be a person; secondly, knowing what it is to be the kind of person you are and thirdly, knowing what it is to be the person you are and nobody else is. Knowing yourself means knowing what you can do; and since nobody knows what they can do until they try, the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is." From his point of view these means history is man’s source of knowledge to his origins. That the past is how they know where they come from, what their culture, and who they come from. There is a lot of evidence that supports this because in almost every civilization depending on who you were born too, your family history defined who you are. Whatever your ancestors did in the past you have to live up and even surpass their achievements.

On a whole other note the Greek princess and historian, Anna Comnena quoted history is “"Time in its irresistible and ceaseless flow carries along on its flood all created things and drowns them in the depths of obscurity. . . . But the tale of history forms a very strong bulwark against the stream of time, and checks in some measure its irresistible flow, so that, of all things done in it, as many as history has taken over it secures and binds together, and does not allow them to slip away into the abyss of oblivion." In the perspective of Comnena, history is a force that fights against time to...
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