In The Philosophical Structure of Historical Explanation, Paul A. Roth resolves disputes persisting since the nineteenth century about the scientific status of history. He does this by showing why historical explanations must take the form of a narrative, making their logic explicit, and revealing how the rational evaluation of narrative explanation becomes possible. Roth situates narrative explanations within a naturalistic framework and develops a nonrealist metaphysics and epistemology of history—arguing that there exists no one fixed past, but many pasts. The book includes a novel reading of Thomas S. Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, showing how it offers a narrative explanation of theory change in science. This book will be of interest to researchers in historiography, philosophy of history, philosophy of science, philosophy of social science, and epistemology.
PAUL A. ROTH is a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an affiliated faculty member of the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Hradec Králové.