Re: Is what we're doing REAL history??

Dennis Storzek

--- In, "al_brown03" <abrown@...> wrote:

In scholarly work, interpretation is legitimate when done carefully.
It's OK to say "I believe this for reasons X and Y and Z" when the
reasons are well-supported; in general, leaps of logic should be
minimized, and the trail back to original sources should be kept as
short as possible...
That's pretty much what I said in my original message, "Real history
will have an unbroken thread of provenance all the way back to the
source." If I make an assumption based on information presented in
Lane's paper, I at least need to cite Lane. Anyone who disagrees with
my assumption is then free to go back to Lane and see if they
interpret the facts he presented the same as I do. If I based my
assumption on Lane's interpretation of the facts, one can go back to
his sources and see if the logic holds true.

The people who made the decisions may be gone, but the results of
their decisions are usually clearly evident. In addition, they may
have stated their reasons in contemporary literature, or in internal
memos; if these still exist, then at least the stated reasons for
their decisions will be known. By preserving the thread of logic all
the way back to these primary sources, if new material seems to
contradict accepted wisdom, one can go back and see where the logic
leading to the accepted wisdom made a wrong tern, and the accepted
wisdom will be revised.

Or, we can just keep repeating the same myths that trace their origins
to the fact that some magazine editor said it, so it must be true. :-)


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