The Atlantic divide: methodological and epistemological differences in economic history
In the paper the development of economic history will be placed within the evolution of Western thought and culture. Therefore an analysis of the connections between economic history and contemporary epistemology will be carried out. In this perspective an analogy with the traditional division between analytic philosophy and continental philosophy would appear to be useful for economic history too: the first had long prevailed in Anglo-Saxon, the second in continental, culture. This partition evokes and embraces the antithesis between scientific and humanist culture, between logic and rhetoric, analysis and interpretation, conceptual clarification and visions of the world. The paper suggest that the opposition that loomed large over the post W.W.II decades between Anglo-American and European economic histories can also be conceived as a specific form of the wider opposition between ‘analytic style’ and ‘continental style’.
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