The Positivist Fallacy

Eïon

Eïon

The Positivist Fallacy is a logical error, sometimes made by historians, when they confuse “what happened” with “that for which we have evidence”.

For example, many books about the Persian Wars end after an account of the battle of Mycale or Plataea. These are the last events mentioned by Herodotus and are the last events about which we know some details. But the war continued: we know that a Greek navy attacked Cyprus, we know that the Spartans invaded Thessaly, we know that a coalition army was active in the Bosphorus, and we know that the Persian fortress at Eïon was captured. It was only then, when the Persians were expelled from Europe, that hostilities ceased. But this stage of the war is poorly documented – and therefore, ignored. Yet, a historian can not make his account dependent on the randomness of the tradition.

Read more about the positivist fallacy here.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 336 other followers

%d bloggers like this: