Dialogue and Universalism:
Jan M. Małecki, Andrzej Tomczak, Łukasz Dercz
A Couple of Remarks about Time in Historical Research, and about a Historian’s Responsibility
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The paper consists of two parts, outlined in the title.I. In the historical science time appears as an element of the historian’s workshop. The historian collects source information, evaluates them and assigns respective dates. Only on the ground of thus “processed” sources may he reproduce the past: events and longer development processes, setting them in time. This dated time is understood colloquially as something objective, which runs one way and may be measured.II. A historian who studies the past reality depends on the extent to which those sources are preserved. As a result of their interpretation, with the use of increasingly excellent research methods, he reproduces that reality. He must carry out an ongoing selection of historical facts found. This exposes him to temptations of such selection of those facts so as to adjust the historical knowledge to serve well the national interests, his own political opinions, etc. In this way the historian exerts influence on social awareness, which may consists of various myths and stereotypes, which sometimes lead to negative social behaviors: aggression, chauvinism, etc. Therefore, for researcher honesty’s sake and in the sense of moral responsibility, he must be careful to be as impartial as possible in his work.