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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Fukuyama Does Not Understand That Historical Thought Exists

"A lot of historical writing has been characterized as ODTAA -- 'one damn thing after another' -- without and effort to extract general rules or causal theories that can be applied to other circumstances." -- The Origins of Political Order, p. 22

Here, Fukuyama's positivism blinds him to the existence of historical thinking in toto. If one has not drawn a causal theory or general rule from some series of incidents, all one has is a heap of uncollected facts. In fact, starting with such a heap, it would be impossible to ever get to a general rule or causal theory: one would have no idea whatsoever what facts to even start trying to bring under such groupings. No, events are first understood in their concreteness, as bearing internal relations to each other, before anyone could possibly abstract from them. Only once there is a coherent narrative can the construction of general, abstract theories begin.

Fukuyama is stuck in the 1920s in the philosophy of science, when it was thought there were such things as "atomic facts" which somehow, if only piled high enough, could reach the theoretical sky.

1 comment:

  1. We... often think on the same wavelength.

    http://increasingmu.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/fukuyama-on-epistemology/

    ReplyDelete