Essay on Objectivity and Subjectivity in History

Words: 1597
Pages: 7

According to Benny Morris, historical truth is a ‘truth about a historical event that exists independently of, and can be detached from, the subjectivities of scholars' . Hence, is Morris implying that historical truths are objective? If they are indeed objective, why are historians constantly rewriting history books? Although the objectivity of some historical truths is indisputable, one must realise that most truths in history are influenced by the historian's biases, limitations and his subjection to external influences. In other words, subjective elements (as mentioned above) undermine the objective interpretations of historical events. Thus, using Morris's definition of historical truth, this essay aims to marshal the argument that to …show more content…
Hence, this repulsion inevitably hampered the imaginative understanding of the historians with regards to British society during the medieval era.

So far, this essay, through the various arguments and examples mentioned above, has advocated the view that historical truths are subjective and not objective in nature. However, as mentioned in the introduction, it would be delusive for one to claim that all historical truths are subjective for the objectivity of some historical truths is indisputable. A good example would actually be the Holocaust. The Holocaust is a historical event which is detached from the subjectivities of scholars for no historian can dispute as to whether the holocaust took place or not, due to the availability of immense evidence. On the other hand, although this essay accepts the view that all historical truths cannot be subjective, there are very few truths which are objective in nature. One may even state that events, such as the Holocaust, are "survivors" of the "subjectivist challenge". Hence, any argument that claims historical truths are objective are generally weak for most historical truths are ‘stuck' in the quagmire of subjectivity.

Subjectivity is not a bane in historical scholarship. It is actually useful for a historian's subjective judgement is needed to create