How can we take history seriously as real and relevant? Despite the hazards of politically dangerous or misleading accounts of the past, we live our lives in a great network of cooperation with other actors; past, present, and future. We study and reflect on the past as a way of exercising a responsibility for shared action.
In each of the chapters of Full History Smith poses a key question about history as a concern for conscious participants in the sharing of action, starting with "What Is Historical Meaningfulness?" and ending with "How Can History Have an Aim?" Constructing new models of historical meaning while engaging critically with perspectives offered by Ranke, Dilthey, Rickert, Heidegger, Eliade, Sartre, Foucault, and Arendt, Smith develops a philosophical account of thinking about history that moves beyond postmodernist skepticism. Full History seeks to expand the cast of significant actors, establishing an inclusive version of the historical that recognizes large-scale cumulative actions but also encourages critical revision and expansion of any paradigm of shared action.
Steven G. Smith is Jennie Carlisle Golding Professor of Philosophy at Millsaps College, USA and the author of The Concept of the Spiritual (1988), Gender Thinking (1992), Worth Doing (2004), and Appeal and Attitude (2005).
Preface Acknowledgements Introduction 1What Is Historical Meaningfulness? Toward full history: historical sense Toward fullest history: historical meaningfulness Evasions and reductions of history thinking Historical realism in practical evaluation 2How Is History Real? Archetypalism and experientialism How action sharing is real 3How Is History Interesting? Being interested in "history" and the historical Three modes of historical interest Three openings of historical interest The most interesting new histories, #1: Natural history The most interesting new histories, #2: Feminist history The most interesting new histories, #3: Sports history 4How Is History Important? Historical importance The totalizing and chaotic views of historical mattering: Sartre and Foucault Theses on historical importance 5How Is History Understandable? Historical insight and historical judgment Conditions of insight into shared action The practical continuum as spiritual The game model of the practical continuum Is there such a thing as good historical judgment? The classic historical judgment of Jeremiah The modern historical judgment of Hannah Arendt 6How Can History Be Made? The possibility of "making" history The movement ideal The problem of "historical injustice" The problem of totalizing Four modes of history making The universal history maker 7How Can History Have an Aim? Three historical goals: Utopia, Victory, Salvation The best world and bad outcomes Three themes of historical fulfillment: Freedom, Solidarity, Redemption History as sacred Epilogue: Difficult History Notes Index