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When Are We Speculating on History? A Mandelbaumian Theory

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Abstract This paper is a classic critique of speculative philosophies of history based on Maurice Mandelbaum’s work. Unlike the more famous invective by Karl Popper, I argue that Mandelbaum’s is a richer and more interesting approach, which reveals through exposition a deeper unity to Mandelbaum’s work than is normally evident. Because Popper’s nominalism is suspicious of all metaphysics, it loses credibility whereas Mandelbaum placed reflection on the nature of society and causality at the center of his interests. Mandelbaum’s critique then is an invitation to investigate metaphysics on realist principles and he requires that we have a robust theory of historical ontology and truth with which to judge what goes beyond the proper representation of history and becomes speculative.


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Affiliations: 1: Moore College of Art & Design


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