History — ‘art or Science’?

Guptajit Pathak asked:

There is a raging debate over the fact that whether history is an art or science.

History as an Art:

Those who believe that history is an art advocate the following opinion :—

1) According to Rickman, “History deals with sequence of events, each of them unique while science is concerned with the routine appearance of things and aims at generation and the establishment of regularities, governed by laws.”

2) Colingwood says, “Events of history are the things which the historian looks, not at, but through, to discern the thought within.”

3) Some scholars are of the view that history is neither pure science nor pure art. In other words, a blending of the two. When it discovers facts it is a science and when it settles truths, it becomes an art.

4) Some of the people went to the view that history is a part of literature.

5) Historical data are not available for scientific observation and experiment.

6) History is an art only. It cannot be called science. It is not based upon certain concepts and ideologies.

7) Of course, history is a social science, which contacts with human life and actions.

8) In history, we have a set of the data. It is fully analysed and classified.

History is a science:—

From the following points we can define history as a science.

1) History aims at discovering facts of the past events and interprets them objectively.

2) History uses various traits of enquiry such as observation, classification, formulation of hypothesis and explanation of evidence before reconstructing the past.

3) History follows the trends of enquiry to find out.

4) History seeks to tell the fact by giving a scientific method, hence, it is a science.

5) Is history a science as physics or chemistry or biology are? It is of course a negative question. History is a social science. It deals only with the experiences of human beings and human civilizations.

6) Historical facts cannot be observed.

Then, what is history?

1) History is a unique subject possessing the potentials of both an art and a science.

2) Secondly, history is neither pure science nor art, hence, it is two sides of the same coin.

3) Thirdly, history of course is a social science and an art. In that condition history shows its flexibility and variety.

4) Fourthly, history is a subject of study is less or more completely at the mercy of sources.

5) Fifthly, history is a natural science.

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