Historical study has traditionally been built around the placement of the human at the center of inquiry. The de-stabilized concepts of the human in contemporary thought challenge this configuration. However, the ways in which these challenges provoke new historical perspectives both expand and enrich historical study but are also weak and vulnerable in their concept of the human, lacking or omitting something valuable in our self-understanding. A Personalist Philosophy of History argues for a robust concept of personhood in our experience of the past as a way to resolve this conflict.
Focused on those who know history, rather than on the abstract properties of knowledge, it extends the moral agency of persons into non-human, trans-human, and deep history domains. It describes an approach to moral life through historical experience and study, rather than through abstractions. And it describes a kind of historiography that matches factual accuracy to both the constructed nature of understanding and to unavoidable moral purpose.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1.A Moral Turn 2. Personalism as a way to approach past actors 3. Philosophical issues in the philosophy of history 4. History: the long experience of moral obligation 5. A personalist philosophy of history
Bennett Gilbert is Senior Instructor in University Studies at Portland State University, USA.
"..a value of Gilbert’s inquiry is not to be belittled: admonitory statements on a necessity of philosophical awareness of concepts, such as time, cognition, and moral agency of human and non-human actants, need investigating by theorists of historiography and, especially, practicing historians. "
- Artem Kachurin, Central European University