On ‘Presence’ and conversing with the past: do historians communicate with the past?

In endeavouring to evaluate how historians communicate with the past, I argued in this short presentation at the 2012 Social History Society Conference that the epistemology of empiricism, inference, colligation and representationalism ultimately fails to deliver meaning and explanation. The reason is because the common figure of ‘a conversation’ with the past occludes the fictive nature of the history/past engagement and which cast substantial doubt on the mechanism of conversational knowledge acquisition which assumes that (1) the inference as to what the empirical sources might mean can be accurately delivered in the ‘history text’, but as a result (2) the ‘truth’ and (3) ‘objectivity’ in, and (4) the ‘historical interpretation’, are in no way compromised by (5) the ‘narrative delivery’ of the presumed most likely history of the past.