Place and time: On the interplay of historical point of view

A historians account of a past action must take into account the agent's point of view, and that point of view may differ radically from that of the historian. This difference of points of view, I argue may extend to the very place and time of the action in question. In this paper, by exploring the spatial and temporal aspects of action, agency, and description of past action, I try to describe the interplay of points of view between historian and historical agent. Because of these differences, actions may be embedded in radically different realities for agent and historian, different conceptions, of the spatially and temporally real. This is especially true of time: an action may have a very different future for the agent from the future it has in retrospect. These discrepancies, I claim, do not constitute an obstacle that can be overcome, but are structural features of the relation between description and action. This is because they are merely extensions into a particular domain of certain features of relations between persons. I try to show that these features also have implication for the concepts of narrative and of counterfactual history.