By Durham, I T
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Extra resources for A Historical Perspective on the Topology and Physics of Hyperspace
24 Now this place, according to de Certeau, is the unsaid par excellence of historiography; in its scientific claim, history indeed believes it is or claims to be produced from no particular position, from nowhere. This argument, we note, holds just as much for the critical school as for the positivist school. Where, in fact, does the tribunal of historical judgement reside? This is the context of questions in which a new interpretation of the event as difference comes to light. How? Once the false claim of the historian to produce history in what approximates a state of socio-cultural weightlessness is unmasked, the suspicion dawns that any history that claims to be scientific is vitiated by a desire for mastery, which sets the historian up as the arbiter of meaning.
In this way, metonymy, by equating the part and the whole, would tend to make the historical factor the mere manifestation of another factor. Synecdoche, by connecting the extrinsic relation of two orders of phenomena to an intrinsic relation among shared qualities, is held to figure an integration rather than a reduction. " In contrast to metaphor, which inaugurates and in another sense holds the tropological domain together, White calls irony "metatropological," inasmuch as it provokes the awareness of the possible misuse of figurative language and continually recalls the problematical nature of language as a whole.
What differs with respect to the other sciences of observation is indeed to be Page 39 sought elsewhere than in the indirect nature of the observation: the historian, unlike the physicist, cannot bring about the appearance of the trace. But this drawback belonging to historical observation is compensated for in two ways: the historian can multiply the reports of witnesses, and confront them with one another; Marc Bloch speaks here of the "handling of testimonies of opposite types" (65). In particular, the historian can give precedence to "witnesses inspite of themselves," that is, to documents that were not intended to inform or to instruct contemporaries and even less, future historians (62).
A Historical Perspective on the Topology and Physics of Hyperspace by Durham, I T