Semantics of Historical Representation in Terms of Aspects

in Journal of the Philosophy of History
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Abstract

In his latest book, Frank Ankersmit proposes an original theory of historical representation. In this review I focus on what I take to be his most important semantic points with respect to representation, meaning, truth, and reference. First, I provide a short summary of the book. Second, I explore his semantics in terms of aspects and compare it with a different account inspired by the Fregean notion of mode of presentation. As my examination shows, Ankersmit’s analysis faces the problem of “loosing indirectness” and, moreover, there seems to exist an alternative and plausible view that does not suffer from this problem. Finally, I conclude with a couple of comments on the Copernican Revolution advocated in the book.

Semantics of Historical Representation in Terms of Aspects

in Journal of the Philosophy of History

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References

1)

F.R. AnkersmitNarrative Logic: A Semantic Analysis of the Historian’s Language (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers1983) 59.

3)

AnkersmitNarrative Logic: A Semantic Analysis of the Historian’s Language96–100.

4)

AnkersmitNarrative Logic: A Semantic Analysis of the Historian’s Language77.

5)

See C. Lorenz“Can Histories Be True? Narrativism, Positivism, and the ‘Metaphorical Turn’”History and Theory37 (1998) 309–329; J. Zammito “Ankersmit and Historical Representation” History and Theory 44 (2005) 155–181 181.

6)

AnkersmitNarrative Logic: A Semantic Analysis of the Historian’s Language204.

7)

AnkersmitNarrative Logic: A Semantic Analysis of the Historian’s Language225.

9)

F. Ankersmit“Representation and Reference”Journal of the Philosophy of History4 (2010) 375–409.

11)

  D. Cohnitz M. RossbergNelson Goodman (Chesham: Acumen2006) 76.

15)

Ankersmit“The Linguistic Turn: Literary Theory and Historical Theory”41.

16)

AnkersmitNarrative Logic: A Semantic Analysis of the Historian’s Language225.

18)

Frege“On Sense and Reference”24.

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