Veronica Tozzi

Biography and/or project

This project comes in the context of the debates around the New Philosophy of History, represented by the Narrativistic Philosophers of History, H. White and F. Ankersmit (to name a couple of them). The objective is to critically research the epistemic presuppositions of  so-called academic historiography in order to show that every representation of the past (scientific or not) explicitly or implicitly consists of ontological, practical-political and aesthetical-expressive compromises. As a first result, the attempted distinction between speculative and critical philosophy of history -uncontested until the third quarter of the 20th Century- is abandoned. Historians as well as philosophers of  history have to deal with those linguistic resources provided by their culture in order to produce a plausible account of the past that mediates between other, alternative, even conflicting accounts, as well as the raw register, and the audience. As a second result, the other attempted distinction between history and literary narrative is also questioned.I am aware of the many criticisms that Narrativistic Philosophy of History has received, most of them inspired by idealistic readings of the linguistic turn. So, it will be one of the main purposes of the exploration about how the New Philosophy of History could be enriched with a close relationship to a pragmatic consideration of language and sciences.  I encourage a dialogue with the contributions made by a pragmatist approach to language and knowledge, specifically those born from the reflections on social and historical studies, as is the case with George Mead’s Social Behaviorism, and the Strong Programme in the Sociology of Knowledge lead by Barry Barnes, David Bloor and, more recently, Martin Kusch, who have not found a conflict between their sociolinguistic approximation to epistemology and their positive appraisal of history as science.  I am following the New Philosophers of History in their compromise with the unreducible controversial and pluralistic character of the historiography. But, I do not imply relativistic consequences that could dismiss historical research. On the contrary, I offer a pragmatic-heuristic reading that lets us appreciate the disputes and the proliferation of interpretations as a promotion of more research.