Kreistor wrote:No, you're saying, "If it can't be proven to not have happened, then it might have happened."
Since it is impossible to disprove a negative, you get to believe anything you want. I can't prove space aliens didn't kill the knights, either, so they are equally likely to have done that as they took off their boots. Ultimately, you have no method to reject any of a thosand theories -- they put wood on their boots and skated on the mud, they sat on the mud and slid around, crawled, built daVinci helicopters and fly, strugn ropes from tree to tree and rappelled across...
See, I can do it too! Believe ANYTHING because you can't disprove it? Absurd.
As long as it is within the realms of the possible. I think you have to be open-minded as to what is possible, yes, but ultimately we set boundaries of the physcially possible and the extent of the evidence and then propose what we think is most likely. What we deem possible and what we deem most likely are determined by our preconceptions. If you look at the scholarship on a given subject over time, it becomes apparent that the further back in time the interpretation was written the less feasible it seems. The taken-for-granted assumptions of society change, and the argument of what was likely suddenly falls apart.
Kreistor wrote:The evidence against your belief is that in on-site testing, leather boots were not hampered by the mud at Agincourt. There was no motivation to remove the boots. So go ahead and believe whatever you want. It's not different from "space aliens done it" in the end.
My argument defines parameters of the possible, not what happened. An example, imagine that in an empirical investigation of an ordinary die it was proven to have six sides. Your argument is akin to saying that because it has six sides it must roll a six every time. You are equating a boundary parameter with an outcome.
(as an aside here, I would totally have strapped wood to my feet and skated on the mud. That sounds like fun! )
Sleepymancer wrote:We cannot interpret the past on the basis of empirical tests and experiments.
Kreistor wrote:You know nothing about being a historian. It is *all* about what you can prove could be done.
Sorry, you've missed my meaning there (I'll take blame as I don't think I worded it too clearly). However, I am going to keep stressing the word 'parameters' as I think its snuck through below the radar; tests and experiments show boundaries of what was possible, that is to say the paramaters. Unless you can conclusively narrow the parameters down to a single option, then you can't equate the paramater with what actually happened. See the die-rolling above - not always a six.
As to knowing 'nothing about being a historian', meh, I don't do too badly
Sleepymancer wrote:There was a brief period in the ~1950s and ~1960s when history and archaeology tried to become scientific disciplines, but that was rapidly disabused.
Kreistor wrote:HAHAHAHAHAHAH! It was 100% successful, but you're wrong on the dates. discovering the past through duplication of the evidence goes back to the late 1800's.
That's debatable. Serious scientific archaeology (also called the 'New Archaeology' or 'Processualism') reached its peak with David Clarke's Models in Archaeology (1972) and his article 'Archaeology: The Loss of Innocence', Antiquity 47 (1973), 6-18 (so yes, I was a little out on the dates, but he crystallised a few ideas that had been floating around in a semi-formed state, such as those underlying Lewis Binford's 'Archaeology as Anthropology' American Archaeology 28 (1962) 217-225. The history side began - and ended - a little sooner.
They certainly set some useful grounds, and it has generally been argued that the post-Processual lash-back (see Michael Shanks, Christopher Tilley, Ian Hodder, etc.) was too much of an over-reaction, (although many of the issues they raised were not really answered). The current trend, snappily named post-post-post-Processualism (I skipped some phases in the development) revolves around a) a polyphany of voices and the strength of discourse, and b) the moderation of alien's killing knights in French fields through judicious amounts of common sense...
Kreistor wrote:Total BS. Re-engineering the past is done with the knowledge of modern science.
your word 're-engineering' is indicate of where our two approaches differ. In history I look to find out what could have happened, to postulate what I consider to be likely and most importantly to discuss what it meant. You are trying to make the past better.
Sleepymancer wrote:Ultimately, however, the study of the past is subjective and interpretive.
Kreistor wrote:Yeah, you try to get accepted as a historian that way. Good luck with that.
*runs eyes down cv*... nods contentedly to self
Sleepymancer wrote:The best a reconstruction, test or experiment can do is say 'this can or can't be done', not whether or not it was. To assume that because a thing was possible or even was just a 'better' alternative, that it must therefore have been done is logical fallacy.
Kreistor wrote:And yet they still try, put together the devices to demonstrate their theories, and either they are accepted or not.
Everybody look!!! : Kreistor and I agreed!!!!! re-constructions demonstrate if a theory is possible!
Kreistor wrote:Only one record of the battle remains. There were almost certainly others, but they simply didn't survive.
Kreistor wrote:If it was included in Cornwell's story, then maybe has a reason for it. I'd love to hear it. But you're not giving it.
A, I've not read the Cornwell. is that where the idea came from? As I've been pointing out all along, my argument here regards the parameters fro re-constructing history, rather than the specific details of Agincourt.
[Quote+"BLANDcorporatio"]But agreed. I'd qualify that by saying that it's more plausible, to me, that the Archers didn't remove their boots, on grounds that I know reasons why not to remove and no reasons to remove.[/quote]
Sounds very good to me, that nuance is what the entire thing has been about.
effataigus wrote:...the process of historical study I subscribe to is very similar to the process of science. There are observations (arrowheads, first hand accounts, carbon dated scraps of whatever (probably not for this battle), isotope analyses suggesting this iron came from this specific mine), and theories are put forth to account for these observations. Some of these theories can be eliminated through further tests, though likely not all.
Yes. That's the same that I do! I work with material culture and texts, I use information obtained from scientific experts in other disciplines (for example C14 dating is chemistry, not archaeology) alongside material remnants of the past (texts are written on manuscripts so count as materials in my view) and I use that is the basis for interpretation. I outline what is logically possible, determine the pegs of what must have happened (relative orders of stratigraphy, for example) or what could have happened, and expand out from there. Constantly refining it by testing my arguments against the evidence and for theoretical stability.
Speaking of, time I got back to work