Historical Revisionism

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Different approaches have always been used in the development of knowledge. One approach that has been consistently used is the dialectical method, which utilizes consensus and disagreement. While consensus and disagreement are naturally contradictory, they are not incompatible and are some of the best tools used in the production of knowledge. This is especially relevant in the production of robust knowledge, which is plausible, generally accepted, and comprehensive knowledge. The use of the dialectical approach in various areas of knowledge creates the knowledge question: to what extent is constructive disagreement essential to the production of knowledge? Constructive disagreement is essentially dissent in good faith; both parties attempt…show more content…
While some may believe that historical revisionism leads to naïve beliefs such as Holocaust denial and justifying past genocides, they do not take into account that these are not constructive disagreements and most of the historical revisionism that happens is supported by evidence and is legitimized by scholars in the history field. The consensus aspect of historical revisionism is what reduces the “illegitimate distortion of the historical record” which is referred to as historical negationism (“Historical negationism”). Historical negationism is rarely done by respected historians and should not be accounted for as all of historical revisionism, as it rarely results in the production of robust knowledge or argues in good-faith. The objective of historical revisionism is to produce better knowledge of a historical event by incorporating new evidence and using reason to explain it. Historical negationism does not have these positive aspects and seeks to make knowledge less robust by making it implausible. Thus, historical revisionism is an overall positive aspect of history that strives to create robust knowledge, unlike historical negationism which only hinders the production of…show more content…
The scientific method, a process used to produce robust knowledge in the natural sciences, is inscribed with factors that promote consensus and disagreement. Steps such as forming a question and a hypothesis often involve challenging established knowledge in the pursuit of producing knowledge that is reasonable and well-supported with evidence. Within the scientific method, the way of knowing of reason is used to validate conclusions and create robust knowledge. Eventually, the conclusions drawn from the knowledge produced by the scientific method develop support and consensus is acquired. The contributions 19th century physicist Lord Kelvin made in determining the age of the Earth is an example of how constructive disagreement was used to produce robust knowledge (Lamb). His findings were at odds with the ideas of 19th century geologists who believed that the Earth “had been around forever”, and although his estimates were not accurate, Kelvin’s methods paved the way for the future production of robust knowledge in the physics field (Lamb). From this example, it is evident that constructive disagreement is essential to the production of robust knowledge in the natural
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