A Divine Pronouncement or a Game of Chance? The Law-Governed and the Accidental in the Historical Process
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When historians are working with specific source material, they tend to be satisfied with Leopold von Ranke’s formula, that the goal of history is to reconstruct the past. Despite all the naïve clarity of the task, however, its execution turns out to be extremely difficult if not generally impossible. The concept of “reconstructing the past” assumes the existence of procedures for explaining and collecting facts and for establishing regular associations between them that are applicable to all fields.
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