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Presentism

Historical Time, Concerns Of History, Bibliography

Presentism is a neologism coined to identify today's preoccupation with the present age as the essential temporal referent in historical interpretation. (One notes that the term does not appear in the earlier edition of this Dictionary.) As a perspective on the meaning of historical time, it accords the present a privileged status. Presentism therefore stands as a counterpoint to the historicist idea of "progress," which dominated thinking about historical time during the modern age in its greater valuation of the future. As a stance on historical interpretation, moreover, presentism takes issue with the proposition that historical knowledge of the past should be pursued for its own sake, and offers instead the call for interpretations of the past that contribute to morally responsible critical perspectives on the present age.

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