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Ahistoricism refers to a lack of concern for history, historical development, or tradition.[1]

Charges of ahistoricism are frequently critical, implying that the subject is historically inaccurate or ignorant (for example, an ahistorical attitude). It can also describe a person's failure to frame an argument or issue in a historical context or to disregard historical fact or implication.[2] An example of that would be films including dinosaurs and prehistoric human beings living side by side, but they were, in reality, millions of years apart.

The term can also describe a view that history has no relevance or importance in the decision making of modern life.[3]

In some academic contexts, ahistoricism is the accepted norm. For example, the history of science is generally considered a discipline that is quite separate and not directly important to research science.[4]

In philosophy, some criticism has arisen because "the dominant school of philosophy in the English speaking world, analytic philosophy... has been trenchantly ahistorical, and indeed anti-historical". However, few view that to be a problem.[5][better source needed]

A more abstract definition of ahistoricism is simply independence from time: removed from history. An example is the idea that some concepts are not governed by what is learned or has happened, but they come from an ahistoric power that is independent of what has gone before.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ahistoricism". Mirriam-Webster Dictionary Online. Retrieved 2008-11-27.
  2. ^ Pepper, David (1993). Eco-socialism: From Deep Ecology to Social Justice. Routledge. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-0-415-09719-2.
  3. ^ "ahistoricism". Define Online. Retrieved 2008-11-27.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Gooday, Graeme; et al. (2008). "Does Science Education Need the History of Science?" (PDF). Isis.
  5. ^ Akehursta, Thomas (2009). "Writing history for the ahistorical: Analytic philosophy and its past". History of European Ideas. 35: 116–121. doi:10.1016/j.histeuroideas.2008.09.002.