The journey from language to experience: Frank Ankersmit's lost "historical" cause

Icke, Peter P. (2010) The journey from language to experience: Frank Ankersmit's lost "historical" cause. Doctoral thesis, University of Southampton; University of Chichester.

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Abstract

My purpose in the researching and the writing of this thesis has been to investigate, and to try to explain, Frank Ankersmit's curious shift from his well expressed and firmly held narrativist position of "Narrative Logic", to an arguably contradictory, yet passionately held counter belief in the plausibility of a form of direct (sublime) historical experience - an authentic unmediated relationship with the past. I am, accordingly, presenting here what I believe to be the most adequate explanatory account of/for Ankersmit's intellectual journey. A journey which, in essence, constituted a substitution of his earlier representational, language centred philosophy of history for what might be taken as a new and mystical non-representational theory. This alternative theory of Ankersmit' s (let it be called this for now), lacking cognitive foundations, works on the basis of sensations, moods, feelings and therefore a consciousness deemed to be received directly from the past itself, and therein - for this thesis - lies its fatal weakness as a historical theory. Belief in the mystical may be all right at some level, if this is what is wanted, but a mystical experience itself cannot produce a historical re-presentation which (tautologically) is the only way that the past can be presented historically. Thus, I argue that Ankersmit's journey from language to (historical) experience - the latter phenomenon being more appropriately situated within the field of sociology/social theory and memory studies - is, in the end, a lost historical cause.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Departments > History
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Debbie Bogard
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2013 15:32
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2013 16:15
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/809

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