Monday, July 22, 2019


The Mark of the Barbarian

Hugh Seton-Watson, Nations and States (London: Methuen, 1977), p. xii:
When social scientists stress the need to compare phenomena which may have points of similarity; and when historians insist on the absolute uniqueness of every historical event; I find myself agreeing with both. The either-or-ism which dogmatically rejects all comparison, or which dismisses uniqueness as unimportant, seems to me the mark of the barbarian; and barbarians are to be found within all academic 'disciplines'. Both the comparable and the unique exist; the searcher after truth must struggle always to keep them in balance, knowing that he will never be entirely successful. If this were generally accepted, we could be spared a great deal of odium academicum.

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