Mesa K


University of Newcastle, U.K.


Many scholars have argued that history embodies a different form of

explanation from natural science. This paper provides an analysis of

narrative conceived as the form of explanation appropriate to

history. In narratives, actions, beliefs, and pro-attitudes are

joined to one another by means of conditional and volitional

connections. Conditional connections exist when beliefs and

pro-attitudes pick up themes contained in one another. Volitional

connections exist when agents command themselves to do something

having decided to do it because of a pro-attitude they hold. The

fear remains, however, that all narratives are constructed in part by

the imagination of the writer, so if the human sciences deploy

narratives, they lack proper epistemic legitimacy. The paper dispels

this fear by arguing that we have proper epistemic grounds for

postulating conditional and volitional connections because these

connections are given to us by a folk psychology we accept as true.

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