- Nov 2023
relationship with context collapse
Presentism bias enters biblical and religious studies when, by way of context collapse, readers apply texts written thousands of years ago and applicable to one context to their own current context without any appreciation for the intervening changes. Many modern Christians (especially Protestants) show these patterns. There is an interesting irony here because Protestantism began as the Catholic church was reading too much into the Bible to create practices like indulgences.)
The historian David Hackett Fischer identifies presentism as a fallacy also known as the "fallacy of nunc pro tunc". He has written that the "classic example" of presentism was the so-called "Whig history", in which certain 18th- and 19th-century British historians wrote history in a way that used the past to validate their own political beliefs. This interpretation was presentist because it did not depict the past in objective historical context but instead viewed history only through the lens of contemporary Whig beliefs. In this kind of approach, which emphasizes the relevance of history to the present, things that do not seem relevant receive little attention, which results in a misleading portrayal of the past. "Whig history" or "whiggishness" are often used as synonyms for presentism particularly when the historical depiction in question is teleological or triumphalist.
This sort of Whig History example seems to be cropping up again in the early 21st century as Republicans are basing large pieces of their beliefs/identity/doctrine on portions of The Federalist Papers which were marginally read at the time they were written, but because those historical documents appear to make their current positions look "right" today, they're touting them over the more influential Federalist tracts at the time of the founding of America.
Link this to example of this (which I can't seem to find right now.)
- The Federalist Papers
- Republican party
- context collapse
- historical method
- teleological narrative
- cultural bias
- David Hackett Fischer
- frame of reference
- whig history
- Friends of the Link 2023-11-08
- May 2022
Consequently, we cannot understand the history of science if we take a narrow (that is, modern) viewof its content, goals, and practitioners.5. Such a narrow view is sometimes called “Whiggism” (an interest only in historical developments thatlead directly to current scientific beliefs) and the implementation of modern definitions andevaluations on the past.
Historians need to be cautious not to take a whiggist and teleological view of historical events. They should be careful to place events into their appropriate context to be able to evaluate them accurately.
The West, in particular, has a tendency to discount cultural contexts and view human history as always bending toward improvement when this is not the case.
link to Dawn of Everything notes
Whig history (or Whig historiography), often appearing as whig history, is an approach to historiography that presents history as a journey from an oppressive and benighted past to a "glorious present". The present described is generally one with modern forms of liberal democracy and constitutional monarchy: it was originally a satirical term for the patriotic grand narratives praising Britain's adoption of constitutional monarchy and the historical development of the Westminster system. The term has also been applied widely in historical disciplines outside of British history (e.g. in the history of science) to describe "any subjection of history to what is essentially a teleological view of the historical process". When the term is used in contexts other than British history, "whig history" (lowercase) is preferred.
Stemming from British history, but often applied in other areas including the history of science, whig history is a historiography that presents history as a path from an oppressive, backward, and wretched past to a glorious present. The term was coined by British Historian Herbert Butterfield in The Whig Interpretation of History (1931). It stems from the British Whig party that advocated for the power of Parliament as opposed to the Tories who favored the power of the King.
It would seem to be an unfortunate twist of fate for indigenous science and knowledge that it was almost completely dismissed when the West began to dominate indigenous cultures during the Enlightenment which was still heavily imbued with the influence of scholasticism. Had religion not played such a heavy role in science, we may have had more respect and patience to see and understand the value of indigenous ways of knowing.
Link this to notes from The Dawn of Everything.