13 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2022
    1. Thus Paxson was not content to limit historians to the immediateand the ascertainable. Historical truth must appear through some-thing short of scientific method, and in something other than scien-tific form, linked and geared to the unassimilable mass of facts.There was no standard technique suited to all persons and purposes,in note-taking or in composition. "The ordinary methods of his-torical narrative are ineffective before a theme that is in its essen-tials descriptive," he wrote of Archer B. Hulbert's Forty- Niners(1931) in 1932. "In some respects the story of the trails can notbe told until it is thrown into the form of epic poetry, or comes un-der the hand of the historical novelist." 42

      This statement makes it appear as if Paxson was aware of the movement in the late 1800s of the attempt to make history a more scientific endeavor by writers like Bernheim, Langlois/Seignobos, and others, but that Pomeroy is less so.

      How scientific can history be as an area of study? There is the descriptive from which we might draw conclusions, but how much can we know when there are not only so many potential variables, but we generally lack the ability to design and run discrete experiments on history itself?

      Recall Paxson's earlier comment that "in history you cannot prove an inference". https://hypothes.is/a/LIWSoFlLEe2zUtvMoEr0nQ

      Had enough time elapsed up to this writing in 1953, that the ideal of a scientific history from the late 1800s had been borne out not to be accomplished?

    1. If a passage is interesting from several different points of view, then it should be copied out several times on different slips.

      I don't recall Langlois and Seignobos suggesting copying things several times over. Double check this point, particularly with respect to the transference to Luhmann.

    1. Deutsch wrote often of history’s ‘scientific’ nature and inductive approach, leading toan almost positivistic method. ‘From individual facts’, he wrote, ‘one ascends to prin-ciples’, continuing: ‘Facts have to be arranged in a systematic manner . . . First we mustknow, and afterward we may reason’. This ‘systematic’ arrangement, he believed, sepa-rated the historian from the mere annalist or chronicler (Deutsch, 1900b: 166).

      This scientific viewpoint of history was not unique to the time and can be seen ensconced in popular books on historical method of the time, including Bernheim and Langlois/Seignobos.

    1. Adams H. B. (1886) Methods of Historical Study. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University.

      Where does this fit with respect to the zettelkasten tradition and Bernheim, Langlois/Seignobos?

    2. It may seem a curious relic of positivistic history, but closer examination allows us to interrogate the materiality of scholarly labor.

      Given the time period (1859-1921), what was the potential influence, if any, on Deutsch and his methods by historical methods writers and the evolution of the science of history by Ernst Bernheim or Seignobos/Langlois from that same period?

    1. In "On Intellectual Craftsmanship" (1952), C. Wright Mills talks about his methods for note taking, thinking, and analysis in what he calls "sociological imagination". This is a sociologists' framing of their own research and analysis practice and thus bears a sociological related name. While he talks more about the thinking, outlining, and writing process rather than the mechanical portion of how he takes notes or what he uses, he's extending significantly on the ideas and methods that Sönke Ahrens describes in How to Take Smart Notes (2017), though obviously he's doing it 65 years earlier. It would seem obvious that the specific methods (using either files, note cards, notebooks, etc.) were a bit more commonplace for his time and context, so he spent more of his time on the finer and tougher portions of the note making and thinking processes which are often the more difficult parts once one is past the "easy" mechanics.

      While Mills doesn't delineate the steps or materials of his method of note taking the way Beatrice Webb, Langlois & Seignobos, Johannes Erich Heyde, Antonin Sertillanges, or many others have done before or Umberto Eco, Robert Greene/Ryan Holiday, Sönke Ahrens, or Dan Allosso since, he does focus more on the softer portions of his thinking methods and their desired outcomes and provides personal examples of how it works and what his expected outcomes are. Much like Niklas Luhmann describes in Kommunikation mit Zettelkästen (VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 1981), Mills is focusing on the thinking processes and outcomes, but in a more accessible way and with some additional depth.

      Because the paper is rather short, but specific in its ideas and methods, those who finish the broad strokes of Ahrens' book and methods and find themselves somewhat confused will more than profit from the discussion here in Mills. Those looking for a stronger "crash course" might find that the first seven chapters of Allosso along with this discussion in Mills is a straighter and shorter path.

      While Mills doesn't delineate his specific method in terms of physical tools, he does broadly refer to "files" which can be thought of as a zettelkasten (slip box) or card index traditions. Scant evidence in the piece indicates that he's talking about physical file folders and sheets of paper rather than slips or index cards, but this is generally irrelevant to the broader process of thinking or writing. Once can easily replace the instances of the English word "file" with the German concept of zettelkasten and not be confused.

      One will note that this paper was written as a manuscript in April 1952 and was later distributed for classroom use in 1955, meaning that some of these methods were being distributed from professor to students. The piece was later revised and included as an appendix to Mill's text The Sociological Imagination which was first published in 1959.

      Because there aren't specifics about Mills' note structure indicated here, we can't determine if his system was like that of Niklas Luhmann, but given the historical record one could suppose that it was closer to the commonplace tradition using slips or sheets. One thing becomes more clear however that between the popularity of Webb's work and this (which was reprinted in 2000 with a 40th anniversary edition), these methods were widespread in the mid-twentieth century and specifically in the field of sociology.

      Above and beyond most of these sorts of treatises on note taking method, Mills does spend more time on the thinking portions of the practice and delineates eleven different practices that one can focus on as they actively read/think and take notes as well as afterwards for creating content or writing.

      My full notes on the article can be found at https://jonudell.info/h/facet/?user=chrisaldrich&max=100&exactTagSearch=true&expanded=true&addQuoteContext=true&url=urn%3Ax-pdf%3A0138200b4bfcde2757a137d61cd65cb8

  2. Sep 2022
    1. Heyde, Johannes Erich. Technik des wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens. (Sektion 1.2 Die Kartei) Junker und Dünnhaupt, 1931.

      (Unknown translation from German into English. v1 TK)

      The overall title of the work (in English: Technique of Scientific Work) calls immediately to mind the tradition of note taking growing out of the scientific historical methods work of Bernheim and Langlois/Seignobos and even more specifically the description of note taking by Beatrice Webb (1926) who explicitly used the phrase "recipe for scientific note-taking".

      see: https://hypothes.is/a/BFWG2Ae1Ee2W1HM7oNTlYg

      first reading: 2022-08-23 second reading: 2022-09-22

    1. The idea that analysis must precede synthesis is old, of course. Galileo Galilei and René Descartes already thought it was necessary to distinguish between an analytic and a synthetic step in dealing with any problem.

      Langlois/Seignobos talk about this in their text Introduction aux études historiques (1879) as well, focusing especially on the analysis portion to have a solid base of historical information from which to build and create a synthesis.

  3. Aug 2022
    1. By the earlytwentieth century advice manuals on research methods recommended takingnotes on index cards.141

      Here Blair quotes Chavigny and Heyde, but crucially leaves out Bernheim, Langlois & Seignobos, and Beatrice Webb.

      Check the others, specifically for index card references, but Webb uses slips or sheets (and often larger ones).

  4. Jul 2022
    1. Langlois, Charles-Victor / Seignobos, Charles (1898): Introduction to the Study of History. London

      Niklas Luhmann cites Langlois and Seignobos' Introduction to the Study of History (1898) at least once, so there's evidence that he read at least a portion of the book which outlines some portions of note taking practice that resemble portions of his zettelkasten method.

    1. “ Every one agrees nowadays ”, observethe most noted French writers on the study of history, “ that it is advisable to collectmaterials on separate cards or slips of paper. . . . The advantages of this artifice areobvious; the detachability of the slips enables us to group them at will in a host ofdifferent combinations; if necessary, to change their places; it is easy to bring textsof the same kind together, and to incorporate additions, as they are acquired, in theinterior of the groups to which they belong ” (Introduction to the Study of History,by Charles Langlois and Charles Seignobos, translated by C. G. Berry, 1898, p.103). “