Friday, August 15, 2008
Roth, Paul A. "Review of Jonathan Gorman's HISTORICAL JUDGEMENT." NDPR (August 2008).
Gorman, Jonathan. Historical Judgement: the Limits of Historiographical Choice. Chesham: Acumen, 2007. Jonathan Gorman's subtitle signals the thesis that he seeks to establish: to show false postmodernist claims (at least as Gorman reads them) that there exists "unlimited freedom of choice in the context of what to believe about reality." (9) Gorman opposes those forms of postmodernism that extend skepticism about reality to the most basic level of what to count as "atomic" statements of fact. But Gorman develops his account of important constraints on historiographical choice based on assumptions, e.g., holism and anti-realism, that he takes himself to share with the postmodernists he criticizes. This approach distinguishes Gorman's book from many other critiques of postmodernism. Based on the shared assumptions, he develops and defends a type of Quinean position he terms "pragmatic holistic empiricism." (10) Thus, even postmodernists would have to acknowledge his proposed limits on historiographical choices. . . . Read the rest here: http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=13886.