TOK - Science and History

Essay by kevin1496High School, 12th gradeB+, November 2014

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'To what extent does the author substantiate his claim that the study of history can be pursued scientifically?'

By Kevin Lim 11ACh

Science and History. These two subjects are one of the most important research areas in the world of mankind. And as human nature always seem to drive human beings to improve lifestyles and to find out more about planet, these subjects become two inevitable subjects to to further study. There are two types of sciences, one being historical science and the other non-historical science. Historical science makes use of the information from the past to derive the trends and assumption. An example could be evolution. Whereas, a non-historical science requires solid data, not an assumption, in order to formulate a theory or an answer. An example could be Physics. The way of knowing for science has four main steps, observation, hypothesis, experiment ,conclusion and just repeating the steps to verify and reduce errors.

For History it is different as history can be seen both as an art and science. History is a narrative text written in the present about the past using the evidence that have been left behind. There is problem to this as the past cannot be directly tested nor verified. Due to this complexity, the hypothesis cannot be tested, thus history can be not totally accurate. In the article, Diamond discusses that history is not a science but can be scientifically approached, for example evolution would require the artifacts from the past to come out with an assumption or an answer. In this essay the issue on how whether the study of history can be pursued will be analysed.

History is quite similar to natural sciences such as astronomy, climatology evolutionary biology and geology. What all these subject areas have in common is that it...