History: a vehicle for moral enquiry?

Clio et cetera

Bede had no qualms about using history to make moral arguments: the distinction is a modern one. Bede had no qualms about using history to make moral arguments: the distinction is a modern one.

What is history? For me, the discipline of history cannot be defined simply by its object of study – the past is, after all, studied in a wide variety of subjects including English Literature, geography and music. The physicists who recently made a breakthrough in studying the universe are also studying the past. History, I would suggest, can better be defined by the questions it asks of the past, and the means by which it goes about answering them, as I argued in this blog post last year.

I tend to think about this quite a lot, but I was recently challenged on two occasions to decide whether something counted as history. Two weeks ago, following the ongoing coverage of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the BBC…

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