History is philosophy learned from examples

Topics: Learning, Epistemology, Philosophy Pages: 1 (399 words) Published: October 13, 2013
While history is the study of past events, particularly related to human affairs and activities, the Oxford dictionary defines philosophy as, “the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.” From the definition itself, one can easily see areas that overlap between these two disciplines. When Dionysius of Halicarnassus said, “History is philosophy learned from examples”, he certainly meant that studying about the history of a particular person, place, or any other species or object involves a study into the decisions made by that person and the events that shaped a particular person, place or object. With the study of history, focused on a particular subject, we learn about the right and wrong decisions, the dos and don’ts, and other particular traits or practices one must undergo to repeat (or not repeat) a particular phenomenon. This means that we are actually probing into the philosophical nature of things, only in the past. A perfect example would be the study of Gandhi’s and Hitler’s biographies. One can definitely learn what political decisions lead to the victory of the former, and the destruction of the latter person. Another example would be to follow the footsteps of a successful person if you are set to embark on a specific career; for instance, learning from the previous games, books, videos and tutorials of a great football player in history. With that being said, I think the quote makes great sense. George Santayana the great Spanish philosopher, among his many great quotes, also said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” As far as my understanding goes, this wry observation of human nature refers to our tendency to fall into subconscious habits and natural human tendencies that are often destructive. If we are not aware of the mistakes of our past, it is probable that we will repeat them as we often rely on habitual or instinctive...
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