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Is History a Science?

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Introduction

Is History a Science? Both the term history and science have many different connotations, so it is difficult to comment on whether they can be put into the same classification. Basically, the way in which history is studied would suggest that it is a science, mainly because the facts are all there, but a historian must find them and piece them together to complete the discovery. In science, the discovery of penicillin was made partly by mistake. Experiments in a laboratory on one subject stumbled across different results, which could be attributed to the discovery of penicillin. This is a very similar situation to where a historian may be involved in an archaeological investigation of the ruins of a roman villa. The search could yield new findings, which could change all previous perceptions of the Romans, for example finding evidence that the Romans had electricity. History is studied to gain an understanding of human activity in the past- from the time humans evolved to the present day. ...read more.

Middle

Why did the Normans win the Battle of Hastings? The historian goes out, looks at records such as the Bayeaux Tapestry then sums up his findings in whatever way he sees suit. There appear to be knows laws in history, as there is no way of controlling human behaviour. Laws may be put into place in different countries to stop people doing certain things, however people can still do whatever they like. This suggests that history is not a science because there is no scientific explanation for human behaviour. However, humans have short memories, and their thoughts tend to be the same, so it is possible for patterns and similarities to be picked out from similar events happening at different periods in time. For example, many of the "great" dictators in the 20th Century persecuted people in their nation, and in the end failed in their aims. There is a lot to be said about human nature. ...read more.

Conclusion

The previous conception that science revolves around maths is false. It is not possible to study the mating habits of a badger using numbers, which is the same in history. However, there are bands of history that are involved with mathematics. In Physics, the general way of summing up an experiment could be to present a formula developed from the experiments findings. In Biology, the results of an experiment may conclude a hypothesis, so if history is a branch of science on a par with biology, why can it not work in the same way, by presenting its findings in words, rather than numbers. In conclusion, a definition of science is "the knowledge so obtained, or the practice of obtaining it". Using this, what is there to stop history being classified as a science? This essay topic is a prime example of something that could be studied historically (why do humans not consider history to be a science) or scientifically (why do humans not consider history to be a science- in the field of human psycology) ...read more.

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