Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

William Douglas Burgess Jr.

Committee Members

Melvin E. Page, Ronnie M. Day


A perennial question in the philosophy of history is whether history is a science or an art. This thesis contests that this question constitutes a false dichotomy, limiting the discussion in such a way as to exclude other possibilities of understanding the nature of the historical task.

The speculative philosophies of Augustine, Kant, and Marx; the critical philosophies of Ranke, Comte along with the later positivist, and the historical idealist such as Collingwood will be surveyed. History is then examined along side art to discuss not only the similarities but, the differences.

Major similarities—narrative presentation, emplotation, and the selective nature of historical evidence—between history and fiction are critiqued. A word study of the Greek word ίστοριά will show the essential difference between history and literature. The essential nature of the historical task can best be revealed in the differences between history and art.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

History Commons