Historical explanation and causality

Frans van Lunteren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Historical explanation is an ambiguous concept. Historical narratives usually aim for a mixture of causal and interpretative understanding. In this essay the author uses an article, written with Azadeh Achbari, that seekstoanswerthequestionofhowaDutchme-teorological rule of thumb was eventually turned into a law of nature. Part of the answer is found in the sudden British need for a scientific basis for the controversial practice of storm warnings. Clearly, this causal explanation hinges on the contemporary meaning of the concept “law of nature.” Finally, the author discusses and rejects the recent tendency among historians to dismiss all causal analysis as fruitless.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-324
Number of pages4
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


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