The experience of defining the «historical source» notion from the position of philosophical hermeneutics

A. Lukashevich


Introduction. The notional apparatus of historical science can serve cognitional purposes if it is renewed, modified each time when new empirical data, theoretical and methodological concepts appear. Due to this the phenomenon of digital heritage, non-classic scientific paradigm actualization, spreading of functional aims are considered as suppositions to re-comprehend the key notion of humanitarian knowledge – «historical source». The basis of the offered experience to formulate the notion is searching the ways to get over the logical contradiction: on the one hand, between polysubjective pole of historical cognition which is conditioned by the context in which historians are positioned and get their own results of research, and on the other hand, the research practice object – the primary source which in concrete cognitive situation is single, unchangeable conclusion and thus conditioning the only one true independent of experiencing subject.

Purpose. Proceeding from the idea of the subject-object nature of the origin and existence of the historical source we will try to ground our version of defining the notion «historical source» which takes into account the specific features of a new historical source – digital heritage, and also the vitality of non-classic scientific paradigm.

Results. Historical source is the result and inheritance of the subject-object interaction of socio-cultural and natural and climatic processes that are developing in space and time. It is the fragmental expression of the past in the present; it is a part of the whole that remained as a result of natural selection out of the totality of historical sources of certain historical epochs or purposeful activity of a human being to preserve it as a scientific and cultural value.

Conclusion. Historical sources serve as a basis of humanitarian cognition as they contain significant scientific information. But, their application does not remove the problem of relativism and subjectivism received as a result of researching the knowledge of the past conditioned by gnosiological relativism (of conditions, factors, cognitive activity process) and ontological relativism (changeability of the observation object as it is seen from the example of electronic and digital inheritance). It remains to be complicated and getting over the subject-object opposition in explaining the notion of «historical source» which showed dynamism of «life cycle» of the sources.

The relative is senseless without the absolute, in this case without «the constant» of the historical source. But it only limits the interpretation of the historical source content and provides the «experiment» repetition. That is why it can be concluded that historical sources can play their part only when they are «mounted» into a certain system of historical conclusion proofs which contains ,besides them, concrete historical concept, methods and criteria of research, theoretical and methodological basis, ways of revising the received results.

We think that the offered definition of the «historical source» notion can serve getting over logical contradiction between polysubjective side of historical cognition and its object – historical source, as not only the subject that gets knowledge but also its research object are constantly developing.


«historical source» notion, the digital heritage, philosophical hermeneutics, the subject-object relations, interpretation, subjectivity, objectivity



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