History as Self-Knowledge: Towards Understanding the Existential and Ethical Dimension of the Historical Past

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Abstract

This essay explores the existential and ethical dimension of the historical past from two different perspectives. In the first part, the essay approaches the issue by examining the personal dimension of the historical past from the perspective of the individual subject. This examination elaborates the individual’s perspective by literary illustrations from W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz. In the second part, the essay approaches the issue from a conceptual perspective in order to articulate the ways in which the idea of a historical past connects with the concept of history as self-knowledge. The essay engages with R. G. Collingwood’s philosophy of history to show that there are significant ethical and existential aspects of the concept of historical past. In conclusion, the essay argues that, from both the perspective of the individual and conceptually, there is an important personal dimension residing within and not only beyond the historical past.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)82–112
JournalHistória da Historiografia
Volume12
Issue number31
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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