In The Mysteries of Udolpho, characters practice science in home
laboratories, libraries, green houses and gardens, using observation,
instruments, and books to study botany, astronomy, and chemistry. By integrating
these moments of everyday science into her novels - and making them integral to
the development of her heroines - Ann Radcliffe presents a landscape in which
both reason and sensibility are enlisted to gather and process information and
create meaning in a way that echoed the popular scientific discourse of the day.
To date, there has been no sustained study of Radcliffe’s incorporation of
scientific practice and rhetoric into her Gothic novels. By looking closely at
the scientific engagement within her texts, we can broaden the basis for
understanding her work as a part of the broader culture that not only included,
but was in many ways predicated upon the shifting landscape of science at the
end of the eighteenth century.
spirit of 1970s direct humanitarian action
was fabricated from a deductive process of knowledge formation framed by narratives of history,
causation and reciprocity. Reflecting the rise to dominance of a cybernetic episteme, this
register has been replaced by a reliance on inductive mathematical data and machine-thinking for
sense-making ( Rouvroy, 2012 ). Thinking has been
transformed into calculation ( Han, 2013 ). 1 The current dominance within the academy of empiricism and behaviourism reflects this change
in world-experience. What is often
Every piece of historical writing has a theoretical basis on which evidence is selected, filtered, and understood. This book explores the theoretical perspectives and debates that are generally acknowledged to have been the most influential within the university-led practice of history over the past century and a half. It advises readers to bear in mind the following four interlinked themes: context, temporal framework, causation or drivers of change, and subjectivities. The book outlines the principles of empiricism, the founding epistemology of the professional discipline, and explores the ways in which historians have challenged and modified this theory of knowledge over the past century and a half. It then focuses upon three important dimensions of historical materialism in the work of Marxist historians: the dialectical model at the basis of Marx's grand narrative of human history; the adaptations of Marxist theory in Latin America; and the enduring question of class consciousness. The use of psychoanalysis in history, the works of Annales historians and historical sociology is discussed next. The book also examines the influence of two specific approaches that were to be fertile ground for historians: everyday life and symbolic anthropology, and ethnohistory. The roles of narrative, gender history, radical feminism, poststructuralism and postcolonial history are also discussed. Finally, the book outlines the understandings about the nature of memory and remembering, and looks at key developments in the analysis and interpretation of oral histories and oral traditions.
Empiricism is both a theory of knowledge, an epistemology, and a method of historical enquiry. 1 There are few historians who dissent from the use of empiricism as a research method, and most routinely employ the analytical tools and protocols developed over the past one hundred and fifty years to contextualize and interpret source materials. Historians sometimes prefer to describe their work as a ‘craft’, with all the connotations of hands-on knowledge and skill, and this emphasizes methodology rather than theory. Yet all historical writing is constructed
empiricists: where empiricists believe that all knowledge stems from experience and sense data, rationalists believe that some if not all knowledge stems from the activity of human reason itself, theoretical mathematics being the principal case in point.
The rub is that Horkheimer does not take the perspective of a philosopher, but that of a theorist who has stopped believing in the relevance of some of the concerns of academic philosophy. An implicit goal of his argument is to show that there is a shared area between empiricism and rationalism, both of which
or historical elaboration or evaluation of epistemological arguments.
I also challenged the de-scientification and pre-modern approaches that have
returned to the epistemological fore. It is essential for a critical theory of the
twenty-first century that it can articulate a political epistemology through the
dialectical potential. The book attempted to present and ground the argument
that a retreat to de-theorization for the sake of the partiality of empiricism,
as well as the postmodern approach, signifies not a space of postmodernity,
but rather the process
a complexity of response and circumstance largely, though not totally, excised from the published narrative.
From its title page onwards, the tone of the narrative is one of cautious
empiricism. Although the modern facsimile of the text is boldly entitled
Witchcraft at the Lamb Inn Bristol by Henry Durbin,22 the original title only
promises us a ‘narrative’ of ‘some extraordinary things’ ‘supposed to be the
effect of witchcraft’, as related by ‘an Eye and Ear witness of the principal
Facts herein related’, one who is named and whose position in Bristol life is
are, in fact, often rather bleak misconceptions about them; pessimism in the case of Adorno, a sort of determinism or fatalism in the case of Foucault, and reductive sociologism in the case of Bourdieu. In each case, albeit with the partial exception of Bourdieu whose example is ambiguous (but illuminatingly so), it is argued that there are grounds for thinking that the opposite emphasis is actually the correct, more coherent, more relevant, more satisfying one.
The fourth principle relates – perhaps oddly – to a certain empiricism that is to be found in the
thinkers of the movement, postmodernism shares modernism’s
aversion to metaphysical speculation or any kind of overarching narrative, though
without the justification afforded by modernism’s empiricism.12
By contrast, Gill argues that Polanyi et al. not only offer more positive alternatives to the orthodox modern view, but also articulate their views and positions in
such a manner as to open up their own premises to debate. Neither are any of them
shy of metaphysical speculation, though remaining cautious about its
Rechnological necromancy and E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire
Carol Margaret Davison
towards death, which assumed a heightened level of ambivalence in
the wake of the secularising Enlightenment whose driving ideal
– rational empiricism – undermined long-established
Christian certainties about the existence and nature of a soul and
an afterlife. The mixed sentiments of denial, dread, and desire that
thereafter took social and cultural root were especially projected