I begin here by discussing the role of Leibniz in historical thought, particularly in Frank Ankersmit’s representationalist philosophy of historiography. I then discuss Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen’s recent criticism of Ankersmit’s commitment to holism about the semantics of historiography. I argue that the criticism fails because Kuukkanen is not sufficiently sensitive to the Leibnizian foundation of Ankersmit’s holism. Ankersmit can absorb Kuukkanen’s criticisms into his Leibnizism. I conclude by suggesting that the philosophy of historiography needs to be connected to substantial projects in the philosophical criticism of historiography.
Lewis W. Spitz‘The Significance of Leibniz for Historiography’Journal of the History of Ideas13 no. 3 (1953) 333–348. Spitz notes some exceptions to Leibniz’ lack of direct historiographical influence in the work of Droysen (335) and Gibbon (340).
Frank Ankersmit & Marek Tamm‘Leibnizian philosophy of history: a conversation’ 499; cf. Ankersmit ‘History as the Science of the Individual’396–425. Ankersmit might be pleased to note Paul Ricoeur’s (critical) recognition of his Leibnizism in History Memory Forgetting Chicago 2004 277 & 563 and ‘Philosophies Critique de l’Histoire: Recherche explication écriture’ in G Fløistad (ed.) Philosophical Problems Today 1 1994 179–185 – but perhaps this helps to prove the rule.
KuukkanenPostnarrativist93 96; cf. Ankersmit on ‘transversal reason’ Historical Representation 8–11. This can account for what Kuukkanen calls ‘patterns of reasoning’ as well as guiding metaphors like sleepwalking; Kuukkanen Postnarrativist 93. These can be understood by Ankersmit as signposts built onto the historical representation.
AnkersmitMeaning Truth and Reference250; Martin Jay ‘Intention and Irony: The missed encounter between Hayden White and Quentin Skinner’ History & Theory 52 (1) 2013; see e.g. Ricoeur Memory History Forgetting part ii and Temps et récit: L’Intrigue et le récit historique Paris 1984.