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Journal Article

Historical Meaningfulness in Shared Action

Steven G. Smith
History and Theory
Vol. 48, No. 1 (Feb., 2009), pp. 1-19
Published by: Wiley for Wesleyan University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25478811
Page Count: 19
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Historical Meaningfulness in Shared Action
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Abstract

Why should past occurrences matter to us as such? Are they in fact meaningful in a specifically historical way, or do they only become meaningful in being connected to other sorts of meaning-political or speculative, for example-as many notable theorists imply? Ranke and Oakeshott affirmed a purely historical meaningfulness but left its nature unclear. The purpose of this essay is to confirm historical meaningfulness by arguing that our commanding practical interest in how we share action with other actors is distinctively engaged by presumed information about past occurrences. We recognize that past occurrences have determined the conditions of action sharing, constraining our practice with regard to which actors we share practical reality with and which compounding actions we may or must join in progress.

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