Methodisch dualisme | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 129, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



This article is concerned with Dutch textbooks on the philosophy of history. Special attention is given to the three out of five (!) textbooks written in the 1980s that deal extensively with the question whether history is a social science or not. These textbooks were written by Frank Ankersmit (1984), Antoon van den Braembussche (1985), and Chris Lorenz (1987). The two introductions not dealing with this question are written by the same author, Jan van der Dussen (1986 and 1988). While dealing with this question, the authors invoke the influential distinction made by the German philosopher Wilhelm Windelband (1828-1915) between the idiographic and nomothetic sciences (). Curiously, his distinction is used to argue for very different and even opposing views on whether history is or should be a social science. Moreover, as it turns out, his reason for distinguishing between the idiographic and nomothetic sciences is very different from what the textbooks would have us believe.


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