GDG- Killing Lincoln

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Sun Jan 15 21:21:26 CST 2012

Your post is excellent and I really have no problem with any  of your 
points.  They are all very salient.
Except if you are an aware human being you are a witness to  history.
In an attempt to further clarify my point the duty and  obligation of a 
professional historian is to seek the Truth, the Facts, as  accurately as 
We have an obligation as humans if we want the truth to filter  out 
falsehoods and fictions.  
People who write a book and want to present themselves as  authoritative 
historians have an obligation, to themselves if not anyone else,  to winnow 
out falsehoods and fiction from what is specified as  history.
Either something happened or it didn't  even if we didn't  see it.  
Authors, if they want to call their work history need to cull  fiction and 
blatant errors from their  works if they want to maintain their  integrity.
I am beating a dead horse here in the GDG. 
 It has been suggested that I am a liar with no rebuke  from the moderators 
to the person making the assertion.
I have learned that some people in the GDG like having fiction  and blatant 
errors, deliberate or otherwise, mixed in with their history.   And that's 
OK.  It's their lives.
I am just personally of the camp that if I read a book  categorized as 
history to be only the facts and no fiction   
"Just  the facts, ma'am." 

Your Most Obediant Servant

In a message dated 1/15/2012 9:50:03 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
joadx1 at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:

Let's try to get at this from a different  angle.  Let's take the words 
quoted below: 
"The perception of the  facts can be faulty and difficult to get  
but not to get  the  perception right in no way alters the  facts.

Two people  can witness the same traffic accident and give  different 
stories of  it.  The different stories in no way alters the events  of the  

Now, here is the problem of the historian,  of every historian.  The 
historian only has access to those witnesses and  their written testimony, not to 
the actual events.  And, as you also  say,
eye-witness testimony is notoriously unreliable.  The events  described by 
the witnesses stand as something along the lines of what Immanual  Kant 
called a "ding an sich," that is, as "things in themselves."   
But such factual things in themselves (events) are not directly available  
to the historian (just as Kant's ding an sich" is never directly available 
to  perception or cognition), who only has their constructions, 
in the form of  evidence.  

Now, as I have indicated earlier today, a very  prominent point of view 
today is that since the event is never directly  available and all one can do 
is assess and interpret textual evidence,  
there really is no underlying historical ding an sich.  Personally, I  am 
opposed to, and have opposed, that notion.  But neither can I claim to  have 
any direct access to historical events.  
There is only the  evidence, and the kind of historian that I favor bases 
his or her  interpretations and assessments of that evidence on the 
foundation of  probability or potentiality,
a foundation whose persuasiveness is tied to  the most evidence.  But 
evidential potentiality is all the historian has;  never the actuality of the 
"pure"  event.

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