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What is History 8 by EH Carr: The next two Lectures or Chapters 5 and 6
History as Progress & The Widening Horizon
In What is History: Sleep Patterns we found that what we view as normal wasn’t necessarily the same in other periods. Sleep patterns were quite different before the coming of electric and gas lighting. Similarly the view of history has changed as well.
The two brilliant lectures in EH Carr’s What is History on the historian and his facts and causation were covered in the two previous articles: What is History 5: EH Carr Historians & their Facts and What is History 7: Causation in History covering EH Carr’s earlier lectures 1 to 4 in the book.
The current lecture 5 on History as Progress is perhaps Carr’s most brave and modern chapter in the book. While speculative, it raises issues that we still need to deal with, both in our understanding of history and our current understanding of what civilisation means. As such, the topic needs to be confronted and not marginalised.
Progress in History
The changing view of History
The ancients were basically unhistorical in Asia, Greece and Rome, that is, basically uninterested in the future or the past. EH Carr says:
Poetic visions of a brighter future took the form of visions of a return to a golden age of the past — a cyclical view which assimilated the processes of history to the processes of nature. Continue reading “What is history 8: EH Carr History as Progress”