The Normativity of Logic in the History of Ideas

In his The Logic of the History of Ideas, Mark Bevir holds that when we investigate the logic of the history of ideas, our concern must be with the way historians of ideas reason about historical data, not with historical data itself. Moreover, because the logic of a discipline consists of the forms of reasoning appropriate to it, and because the practitioners of a discipline might not reason in the appropriate manner, philosophers must concentrate on what the practitioners ought to do, not on what they actually do. The paper rejects the idea that historians might not reason in the appropriate manner, and against the associated implication that philosophers can use logic to set normative standards for historians which are independent of historians' actual practice.