Call for Papers

IDEALIZATION IN HISTORY

edited by

Krzysztof Brzechczyn and Jerzy Topolski

It seems trivial to assert that the following three stages of the historian's research can be identified: establishing and interpreting historical facts, explaining and formulating laws, constructing theory. What is less obvious is the assertion that at each of these stages of research the historian uses idealization or other similar procedures. The volume in preparation will consist of four principal parts, grouping theoretical papers as well as case studies addressing the issue of idealization at each subsequent stage of the historian's research.
A historical fact is a researcher's construct which is a result of interpreting source data. This interpretation is based on two commonly used assumptions: the assumption of the reliability of a historical source and the assumption of its authenticity. In this case, the establishing and interpretation of historical facts is based on assumptions which “real” source data never completely satisfy because it reflects social, political, religious, etc. biases of their creators. So the task of the historian is to omit these properties of historical sources and to focus on those aspects that are helpful in the reconstruction of the historical past. The problem of interpretation of historical sources and establishment of historical facts will be investigated in the part entitled The Interpretation of Historical Facts.
The use of idealization in formulating scientific laws intended to explain established facts and historical events will be the concern of the second part of the volume, Explaining and Formulating Scientific Laws in History.
The third part, Constructing Theory, will examine the uses of various idealization procedures in historical science for the construction of theories, involving a sequence of models ranging from highly idealized to more realistic ones.
The concluding part, The Methodology of New Economic History, will present articles reconstructing the researcher's conduct within this school of economic thought.

The contributors to the volume include:

    Mark Bevir (the University of Newcastle upon Tyne)
    Antoon Van den Braembussche (Erasmus University, Rotterdam)
    Wolfgang Küttler (Max Planck Institute, Berlin)
    Roch Little (Universidad Nacional de Colombia)
    Chirs Lorenz (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam)
    Leszek Nowak (Adam Mickiewicz University, Pozna)
    Jan Pomorski (Maria Skodowska-Curie University, Lublin)
    Magorzata Sodowa-Hepa (Akademia Ekonomiczna, Pozna)
    Jerzy Topolski (Adam Mickiewicz University, Pozna)
    Rolf Torstendahl (Uppsala University)
    Eduardo Tortarolo (Universitŕ di Torino)

The volume will be appear in the Pozna Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities book series published by Rodopi. The papers should be prepared to conform the style of the series. They should not exceed 40 double-spaced pages. The submission deadline is December 1, 1998. The papers should be preceded by a 150-200 word abstract. Two copies (accompanied by a floppy disk version) should be sent to:

dr Krzysztof Brzechczyn
Instytut Filozofii
Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza
ul. Szamarzewskiego 89C
60-568 Poznan
Poland
e-mail: brzech@main.amu.edu.pl