Historiens nytte? Betragtninger af historiens formål over tid

Katrine Brædder Andersen & Siri Rønne Christiansen

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This essay aims to explore two opposite understandings of the relevance and justification of the use of history. On one side we find the claim that historical examples lost their significance in the period between the eighteenth and the nineteenth century, due to the change of the notion of history, causing history to lose it's timeliness and therefore it's ability to educate morally. On the other side we meet a nineteenth century argumentation recognizing this tendency though underlining that untimely history is capable of moral instruction. The starting point of this essay is set in the sentence appointed by Cicero, historia magistra vitae, which defines history as the misstress of life. The definition of this sentence is based on the belief that it is possible to draw from the experience of others as be they one's own. Reinhart Koselleck (1923-2006) sets out the claim that history loses it's morally educative significance in the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The essay challenges this view through three early works of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). It was about to lose it's significance, because science at the time was fixated with finding the historical background for everything, without considering the use of it. He opposes to Koselleck's thesis by exemplifying how Ancient Greece is exactly what present time needs to get back on track from the scientific derail.The two agree on the term that the ideal of historia magistra vitae is dismantled but they disagree on the outcome of this situation. Koselleck sums up the situation from a viewpoint distant to the time of action claiming that the result of it all is history being valuable only to itself. Nietzsche though gets the last word saying that life is the ultimate goal of the use of history.

UddannelserFilosofi og Videnskabsteori, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato25 jun. 2013
VejledereKasper Risbjerg Eskildsen


  • antikken
  • Nadel
  • dannelse
  • Nietzsche
  • eksemplarhistorie
  • historia magistra vitae
  • utidssvarende
  • Tragediens Fødsel
  • Homer og den klassiske filologi
  • historie
  • Koselleck
  • Historiens Nytte