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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 52, 2018

Philosophy of History

Noa Gedi, Yigal Elam
Pages 11-15

Meaning in History

The heated and unresolved debate in philosophy of history evoked by Hempel’s suggestion that the deductive-nomological model of explanation is equally applicable to the natural sciences and history, has unintentionally led to a distorted conception of what it is to explain in history. We argue that explanation in history, at its best, is contingent not on general laws, not even on consequentiality, but on labels as frames of meaning. These labels further serve as a basis for eliciting models which help determine the fuller meaning of occurrences and processes in history.

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