History may not seem to have much to do with philosophy but just as we have already seen with science, politics and art, it relies on philosophical assumptions and concepts as much as any other subject. In this discourse, I shall introduce some of the philosophical issues within history and hence try to gain a deeper appreciation of it. The purpose of this research work is to argue positively with critical analyses on the relevance of philosophy of history, more also, to relate it to other things of life. In order to give a meaningful background into the study, we however, need to know what we are dealing with by giving a clear definition of terms associated to this study.
What is History?
This may seem like a straightforward question but often an equivocation is made between two distinct uses of the word:
History as the past; and
History as an account of the past.
These are quite different. The first is what we mean when we say "it is all history now", which becomes obvious if we just rephrase it as "it is all in the past now". The second, on the other hand, is implied when we talk of the history of the Great War, say, or the history of science. This distinction is sometimes quite subtle: when we refer to the history of a period or event we mean not just what happened (the past) but also how and why. Some thinkers have suggested that a way to clear this up definitively is to use history for the second meaning and simply call the past the past.
What is history, then? In the first instance, the past would seem to be just the past: what happened before, whether in a specific period or just generally before now. (An interesting related question is to ask whether the past exists or not.) The problem arises when we try to decide what history is in the second sense. According to the historian Elton: ‘‘the study of history amounts to a search for the truth.’’
As a consequence of this perspective, we could say that...