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On Certainty on the Foundations of History as a Discipline

Hamilton, Andy (2022) 'On Certainty on the Foundations of History as a Discipline.', Topoi, 41 (5). pp. 979-985.


Wittgenstein had little to say directly on philosophy of history. But some pertinent remarks in On Certainty have received little attention, apart from in Elizabeth Anscombe's short article on Hume and Julius Caesar. That article acknowledges its debt to On Certainty, which responses to Anscombe have failed to recognise. Wittgenstein focuses in On Certainty on apparently empirical propositions that seem to be certainties, but in fact form a rule-like framework for judging. I have called these Moorean propositions, and the present article develops the suggestion that history as a discipline rests on them. The result is a qualification of empiricism in philosophy of history.

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Date accepted:20 September 2022
Date deposited:04 January 2023
Date of first online publication:03 December 2022
Date first made open access:04 January 2023

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