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Bruce S. Bennett and Moletlanyi Tshipa

Abstract

The Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) is a theory in physics which proposes that, rather than quantum-level events being resolved randomly as according to the Copenhagen Interpretation, the universe constantly divides into different versions or worlds. All physically possible worlds occur, though some outcomes are more likely than others, and therefore all possible histories exist. This paper explores some implications of this for history, especially concerning causation. Unlike counterfactuals, which concern different starting conditions, MWI concerns different outcomes of the same starting conditions. It is argued that analysis of causation needs to take into account the divergence of outcomes and the possibility that we inhabit a less probable world. Another implication of MWI is convergent history: for any given world there will be similar worlds which are the result of different pasts which are, however, more or less probable. MWI can assist in thinking about historical causation and indicates the importance of probabilistic causation.

Georg Gangl

Abstract

In this paper I argue that historiography employs causal narrative explanations just as other historical sciences such as evolutionary biology or paleontology do. There is a logic of explanation common to all these sciences that centers on causal explanation of unique and unrepeatable events. The explanandum of historiography can further be understood as mechanism in the sense developed by Stuart Glennan and others in recent years. However, causal explanation is not the only way historiography relates to the past. Arthur Danto has given us the theoretical tools to differentiate between causal narratives and conceptual colligations, with both playing a pivotal role in historiography even though Danto himself has not expressed that thought clearly.

Alison M. Downham Moore

Abstract

This paper reflects on the challenges of writing long conceptual histories of sexual medicine, drawing on the approaches of Michel Foucault and of Reinhart Koselleck. Foucault’s statements about nineteenth-century rupture considered alongside his later-life emphasis on long conceptual continuities implied something similar to Koselleck’s own accommodation of different kinds of historical inheritances expressed as multiple ‘temporal layers.’ The layering model in the history of concepts may be useful for complicating the historical periodizations commonly invoked by historians of sexuality, overcoming historiographic temptations to reduce complex cultural and intellectual phenomena to a unified Zeitgeist. The paper also shows that a haunting reference to ‘concepts’ among scholars of the long history of sexual medicine indicates the emergence of a de facto methodology of conceptual history, albeit one in need of further refinement. It is proposed that reading Koselleck alongside Foucault provides a useful starting-point for precisely this kind of theoretical development.

Biblical Geography

Maps in Sixteenth-Century Printed Bibles from the Low Countries

August den Hollander

Abstract

Maps in Dutch printed Bibles made their debut when the Bible was first printed in large folio format in the Low Countries. The first complete Dutch Bible in the folio format that appeared on the market, by Jacob van Liesvelt in 1526, already included a map. This was a map of the Exodus, the Israelites’ journey through the desert from the land of Egypt to the promised land of Canaan. In the course of the second half of the sixteenth century, additional maps appeared in Bibles published in the Low Countries. In the sixteenth century, maps are found in both Catholic and Protestant Bibles.

Dort Outwitted by the Remonstrants

Kohlbrugge’s Evaluation of the Canons of Dort

Willem van Vlastuin

Abstract

The Canons of Dort had not only defenders, moderate accepters, and offenders, but also critical accepters. One of these was Herman Friedrich Kohlbrugge (1803–1875). In the first part of this article this agreement with the doctrine of Dort is investigated. It appears that he accepted the reformed tradition, including the doctrine of predestination, and disagreed with the Arminian interpretation of grace. In the second part of this article, Kohlbrugge’s criticism of Dort is highlighted and placed in context; an analysis which leads one to a deeper understanding of the way in which Kohlbrugge accepted the theological and spiritual content of Dort. The article concludes that Kohlbrugge remained faithful to the Canons of Dort throughout his life, that he understood the Canons to be an interpretative explanation of the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism, and that he interpreted the Canons of Dort in a dynamic Christ-centred way.