“… our knowledge is only a collection of scraps and fragments that we put together into a pleasing design, and often the discovery of one new fragment would cause us to alter utterly the...

 

“… our knowledge is only a collection of scraps and fragments that we put together into a pleasing design, and often the discovery of one new fragment would cause us to alter utterly the whole design” (Morris Bishop). To what extent is this true in history and one other area of knowledge?

Asked on by mdgcbh

1 Answer | Add Yours

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This statement is largely true in both history and many social sciences like sociology.  These are disciplines that attempt to explain huge parts of human life.  As such, they must inevitably work as described in the quote that you have provided.

In both history and sociology, we try to create theories that are based on what we think is true.  For example, in sociology, some thinkers argue that society is based mainly on conflict while others see it as a more harmonious thing in which each aspect of society acts as one organ of the body.  In history, we do things like trying to interpret why a certain era in history occurred as it did.  When we discover new facts, or perhaps more likely, when we change our opinions about certain things, the stories we tell about history change.  For example, in the 1960s, our views of Reconstruction changed.  They changed because of the rise of the Civil Rights Movement which encouraged many Americans to think more positively about African Americans.

In these ways, this statement is largely true of both history and some social sciences like sociology.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,989 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question