Människokunskap och långa tidsaxlar
Forskningsoutput: Tidskriftsbidrag › Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Referring to historiographical tendencies and philosophical discourses on the use of history, the article presents a personal argument for the usefulness of the historian's craft today. Drawing on the research on violence, friendship, and silences in history, it would seem we need penetrating methods when examining the information and disinformation spread widely by the mass media and the Internet. Source-critical methodology is still valid in that context. It is equally vital to use comparisons over time to interpret and evaluate trends in the modern world regardless of whether the results are debated in critical or appreciative terms. We need to analyse premodern times to be able to refine the questions we raise in the face of modernity and postmodernity. Further, it may be. possible to deepen our knowledge of the existential and ethical conditions of mankind, if historians prove capable of handling a hermeneutic dialogue with the past in a subtle and creative way. Such conditions seem to a certain extent to be universal. For example, we need food and care to survive, we grow old and ultimately die, and we are normally social beings who try to collaborate or compete with others, and as such we try to establish groups or societies with certain common norms. Thus, although the cultural expressions of human dilemmas, emotions, values, and thoughts vary, there are things we can recognize and possibly understand about human beings in earlier periods. One of the advantages of a long-term historical perspective is the possibility of discovering changes and continuities, similarities and contrasts. Why not profit from such insights into the human condition throughout history, far beyond the limited 'here' and 'now' where we are situated?