Hayden White’s Metahistory and the Irony of the Archive

In: Journal of the Philosophy of History
Knox Peden Australian National University

Search for other papers by Knox Peden in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


Hayden White’s contention that “moral and aesthetic” preferences are primary in shaping a historian’s vision of the past seems to play in to various contemporary efforts to consider history at a scale conducive to insight into climate change and global political dilemmas. Nevertheless, his critique of the archive as a repository of truth acquires new resonance as the naturalist and technological reconfiguration of the archive accompanying these developments gets underway. The signal value of White’s polemical intervention in historical theory was to divorce claims of moral right and political justice from truth claims about the objective reality of the past. It remains so today.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 961 157 19
Full Text Views 436 101 27
PDF Views & Downloads 248 54 5