Carr's Summary: Is History A Science?

1364 Words 6 Pages
Over the course of the book, Carr stays true to offer some answers to the main question he has set out to answer. Through these answers, we can identify Carr's primary arguments :
History is a dynamic process, one where facts have little intrinsic meaning and are shaped by those who study them.
Carr begins by saying that the answer to the titular question will always be answered in a biased manner. He believes that the answer will always be a reflection of prevailing societal conditions at that time. To counter such moralization of history, a new crop of historians arose in 1930s, who gave a lot of importance to facts and were very empirical in their approach. They believed that the facts "would speak for themselves". Carr called this period
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Throughout the book, he keeps posing questions to the readers like 'Is history a Science?', 'Can every historical event be traced through its cause and effect?', 'What is a fact'. These questions might seem boring on the outlook, but are very pertinent questions. He builds on these questions to create a very compelling and progressive theory of history. He keeps the readers hooked with his little asides, concise witticisms and little gentlemanly jibes. The book on the whole, feels like Carr is just thinking out loud which lends an air of honesty to his work and is reflected in his bold and lucid style of writing. But of course, Carr is not without his flaws. He believes that what-ifs are pointless, and does not want to engage himself in studying all the possible outcomes and angles of an event. But understanding what "might have" caused an event is as, if not more important, as understanding what actually caused a particular event. Carr had his fair share of critics because of the controversial nature of opinions he expressed in the book. One of his more famous critics, Sir Geroge Elton, said in his book The Practice of History that Carr had an "an extraordinarily arrogant attitude both to the past and to the place of the historian studying

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