Answer to Question #189993 in History for Gloria

Question #189993

What is the role of causation and context in history with examples?

Expert's answer

Causation plays a vital role in providing a coherent and intelligible explanation of the past. As the study of history is a study of causes, the historian keeps asking the question "why" until he comes to a final answer or cause. So he stated causation is considered the great central pillar of historical thinking.

Employing a causal approach is essential in helping to better explain and understand the past. It helps to make events in the past coherent and intelligible. Causation, the relationships between events and the forces exerted on individuals, groups and ideas is therefore a 'central pillar' of historical explanation.

In English studies of Aristotelian philosophy, the word "cause" is used as a specialized technical term, the translation of Aristotle's term αἰτία, by which Aristotle meant "explanation" or "answer to a 'why' question". Aristotle categorized the four types of answersas material, formal, efficient, and final "causes". In this case, the "cause" is the explanans for the explanandum, and failure to recognize that different kinds of "cause" are being considered can lead to futile debate. Of Aristotle's four explanatory modes, the one nearest to the concerns of the present article is the "efficient" one.

David Hume, as part of his opposition torationalism, argued that pure reason alone cannot prove the reality of efficient causality; instead, he appealed to custom and mental habit, observing that all human knowledge derives solely from experience.

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