Reading for Saturday, June 26

I’m realising as I write this that I’ve obviously stuffed the dates around at some stage, because this was meant to go up to 30 June and here we are on the second-last chapter on June 26. (This is going by the calendar as it was meant to be read, not by my month-and-a-bit-late effort.) Anyway, I’m writing up a chart that will have the correct readings by date, and I’ll post that up when it’s finished, so that can be the final definitive guide for anyone who wants to use it.

In the meantime, here’s a very short chapter where Tolstoy draws together all the points he’s made to say that history, rather than being the study of causes (who or what made this thing happen) should be the study of laws – the laws that drive history.

Of course, with only one chapter to go (and it’s a pretty short one), I doubt very much that he’s going to lay out those laws for us. I think the most he can hope to do is have proved that they exist and thus leave us to think about history differently than we have before.

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One thought on “One Year War and Peace E2.11 – History As Laws

  1. Yes, it would have been intriguing to have been able to read just what Tolstoy’s laws might have been – but I assume he never had an actual sense of those himself, but simply that they exist and are ultimately knoweable. I assume from what he said earlier that he did not even really think it was the task of historians to define those laws – but rather to describe history in a way that gives the bigger picture, which is driven by those laws. The meaphysicians have the task of defining the laws, the historians the job of describing their product. I think!

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