Herbert Butterfield : History, Providence, and Skeptical Politics

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-11-15
  • Publisher: Isi Books
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Herbert Butterfield's understanding of the past The latest volume in ISI's Library of Modern Thinkers explores the life and thought of historian Herbert Butterfield. Best known for his work The Whig Interpretation of History(1931), Butterfield was a prolific, accessible, but profound writer who made important contributions as both a public and academic historian. Author Kenneth B. McIntyre explores the extraordinary range of Butterfield's work, which covered historiography, international relations, the history of England, the history of the scientific revolution, and a variety of other fields. The small book The Whig Interpretation of Historyachieved large influence, McIntyre shows, by highlighting the distortions that occur when historians interpret the past merely as steps along the way toward the glorious present. Butterfield's lectures on history and Christianity displayed his conception of historiography as grounded in the Christian conception of the moral individual. His essays on the origins of modern science basically created the modern discipline of the history of science. His warnings about the dangers of hubris led him to condemn self-righteous crusading in international affairs. McIntyre helps us understand a prescient and insightful thinker who challenged dominant currents in history, historiography, international relations, and politics.

Author Biography

Kenneth B. McIntyre is an assistant professor at Concordia University in Montreal. He is the author of The Limits of Political Theory: Oakeshott's Philosophy of Civil Association.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
The Autonomy of Historyp. 1
The Historical Revolution and the Scientific Revolutionp. 49
Butterfield's Politics: Skeptical Liberalism and International Relationsp. 99
Conclusion: Butterfield's Legacyp. 159
Acknowledgmentsp. 169
Notesp. 171
Bibliographyp. 227
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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