Stay tuned for the Vietnam adventure. Wildlife viewing in Australia is immensely satisfying. The wildlife is fascinating, unique and abundant. In November we entered koala territory. And by the end of the day today, the count will rise even higher. Koalas are adorable. They sleep most of the time, wedged into the branches of eucalyptus trees aka gum trees. They look like little fur balls, about the size of two basketballs put together.
Sleepy little eyes, and ears that look like giant old-man eyebrows. You just want to cuddle them, their fur looks so soft. Every so often you see one awake, standing, stretching, chewing on eucalyptus leaves. They really look like little cute teddy bears come to life. And then they bellow. The sound they make is totally incongruous with their appearance — loud, bellowing, almost anguished. It is a sound that strikes fear into the heart. I can only imagine the terror of the early white settlers, hearing that great roar in the night coming from the deep woods.
What a relief it must have been for them to discover no slavering behemoth, but instead, a cute cuddly koala. We landed in Sydney on 15 September. The sky is blue, the air has just a touch of chill. We are staying in a neighborhood called Glebe Point, a few km from the downtown area. The air is clean, the water potable, the people are friendly and most of them speak English. The tour was just the four of us with a guide and driver.
We started in Guilin where we visited a limestone cave full of stalactites and stalagmites and all kinds of amazing formations, all lit brilliantly with color changing LEDs. The cave was stunning and the lighting design was great. The thing to do in Guilin is take a boat up the Li river and so we did.
This river runs through karst hills. This is the quintessential Chinese landscape you see in paintings — it really is beautiful. A boy on the boat befriended Timo so that he could practice his English. He fed Timo snails in the dining lounge. We also hiked a hill town in the area where the hills have been terraced for rice growing for centuries. The area is called Longshen — Dragon Spine.
A village nestled in the hillside, where they cook meat and veggies inside bamboo sections over a fire — delicious! We spent a night in Yangshou, which apparently used to be a quiet little hamlet where western backpackers liked to chill out. Now it is a rowdy tourist town catering to Chinese tourists who began frequenting the place in order to watch the western backpackers. Noise, noise, noise! The carnival cacophony was unbearable, though the ice cream sellers were pretty cute. We spent a day cleaning panda poop at a panda breeding center. We also got to hand-feed carrots to a panda.
In Chengdu we ate at the Surging Dragon Hotpot restaurant. Hotpot is the Chengdu specialty, and it is good! We ordered half spicy, half mild. The spicy was insanely spicy! Glenn was the only one who could handle it. The menu had some odd items, courtesy of google translate. Qin Shi Huang was the first person to unify China. He employed some questionable methods to achieve his goal, such as burying hundred of scholars alive to quell dissent.
Those were the good old days. The sky was threatening rain, the wind blasted dust in our faces, but it was still one of the most fun and memorable places I have ridden a bike. In Beijing we visited the Forbidden City and learned more about the egotistical excesses of the Emperors than I cared to know. Smash the Hierarchy! We spent a day visiting the Great Wall and Timo and Glenn took the toboggan back down to the parking lot.
The wall is an architectural gem, and it is set in beautiful mountains. The sun shone, and the whole place seemed magical. Having heard about The Great Wall of China since I can remember, it was breathtaking to lay eyes on it. Beijing itself was much nicer than expected. Not just a tangle of concrete and glass skyscraper, smog, and noise, Beijing also has some quaintness, some old-style buildings, windy alleys, funky cafes and restaurants.
Some charm, in a word. We had tea in the old bell tower; the old cities all had a drum tower and a bell tower, to ring out the hour and to call the soldiers to arms in time of need. Nowadays they are lit up at night to great effect. It was great meeting them and spending a day and night with them. Good discussions of China culture and living, great to have someone to bounce ideas off. It was an overnight train and we had a sleeping compartment. Gazing out the window in the early light of the morning, I felt we had entered another world. Grey tiled houses nestled into red rock hills, eerily peeking through the fog or smog.
We arrived in Lanzhou at am after 16 hours. We somehow managed to make it to the bus station across town in rush hour traffic and board a bus to Xiahe in good time — all told, we spent 3 hours total in the most polluted city in the world. In Langmusi we did a 3 day horse trek into the high country where we spent two nights in a yak-wool tent with a nomad couple and their friends.
A truly great experience. The high country is beautiful, the nomads are intensely hard workers the women, anyway , the yaks are like docile hairy horned cows that grunt and moan in the strangest ways. We shovelled yak dung, we slept on yak dung, we ate food cooked on a yak dung fire, we breathed yak dung smoke. Our guide spoke little English, but he took to Timo and they chatted in Mandarin. I feel like I gained some insight into the Tibetan nomad life.
The nomads, by the way, are just as addicted to their smart phones as any city dweller. Our hosts had a solar panel they used to charge their phones. Heaven help them if the Chinese government ever quits blocking youtube and facebook! After Langmusi we took a bus to Songpan. The Songpan area has been inhabited for thousands of years, but the current city walls were built about years ago, give or take. Everything inside the city walls is built in the traditional style, some of it genuinely old, some reconstructed.
There is definitely a tourist town feel to parts of the town, but it is also a real trading post for the Tibetans, Qiang and Hui Muslims. There are shops that sell traditional Tibetan clothes ready made and made to order , prayer beads, silver jewelry, along with PV cables, portable batteries and LED lights. Songpan has a large covered market where farmers sell produce, meat and fish.
The fish are live in tanks, gutted right there for you when you pick one out. On the other side of this small town is a Muslim meat market, where yaks are slaughtered out back and butchered to order in a covered area just off the main road. It was an anatomy lesson, to be sure.
Every see a pile of yak hearts? We watched a man grab a pile of organs, all connected, and cut the heart and liver out. A pedestrian bridge in the middle of town hosts all the local mushroom foragers. Villagers bring in carts of garden produce for sale. The people-watching was fantastic. A real slice of life in the high country. All in all we really enjoyed our stay there. Back in Chengdu after a terrifying 7 hour van ride down a steep mountain road under construction the air was thick, humid and smoggy after the mountains. Chengdu is a big noisy city but it does have some real charm.
The riverfront has been turned into a park and tea shops abound; we spent a couple of hours in a park drinking tea and playing games, seemingly the official pastime of Chengdu. We ate more hotpot yum! Greetings from the edge of the Tibetan Plateau! We arrived today in Langmusi, a small hill town in what was once the Amdo Province of Tibet, but is now on the border of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces of China.
We spent the last few days in Xiahe, also in the erstwhile Amdo province. Xiahe has a population of about ,, mostly Tibetans but also Hui and Han Chinese. The Tibetans seemed to be as interested in us as we were in them. People are especially drawn to Timo — they smile at him and say hello and pat him on the back while giving Glenn and I just a passing glance.
The monastery, which covers several acres, is surrounded on the outside by prayer wheels. There is a constant stream of pilgrims and monks turning the wheels and chanting. We joined in — we turned every prayer wheel, which must have amounted to a few hundred. A pair of old Tibetan nomad women greeted us as we walked the monastery perimeter. Pretty soon they had taken Timo by the arm, handed him a string of prayer beads and taught him to recite Om Mane Padme Hum.
Soon we had a small group. Glenn and I and Timo and a handful of wizened brown skinned nomads all chanting together. Timo is a real charmer. The noise wore us down, and so we caught an early bus this morning and arrived in Langmusi around lunch time. The four hour bus ride here was fascinating — the scenery looks a bit like eastern Oregon, but much greener, and dotted with nomad tents and herds of yaks. Broad river valleys surrounded by rounded hills with rugged peaks beyond.
We are at about 10,ft elevation, so the trees are few but the grasslands are expansive. Xiahe was hot and dusty and the water was out yesterday due to road construction. We plan to spend a day or two exploring the town of Langmusi and the two monasteries we have a gorgeous view of one of them from our hotel room and then go on a three-day horse trek to the nearby grasslands and mountains. The cars drive on the left side of the road, the up escalators are on the left, and in the Metro stations the signage directs pedestrians up the left side of the stairs.
But the sidewalks are complete chaos. The only rule seems to be to fill whatever space is available as you move forward, like electrons filing holes. Is there supposed to be a convention? I absolutely cannot tell. The first few days in Hong Kong I was missing the low-key friendliness of Taipei. Hong Kong is so much bigger and shinier and impersonal, I felt a little lost at first. HK is spectacular, a conglomeration of tall shiny buildings against a backdrop of green mountains.
I mean, they are right there. It is unreal, this band of skyscrapers hugging the edge of a green mountain island. The sky and sea and mountain islands create a stunning tableau. One minute rain pours down in torrents, and the next minute, the sun is glinting through the clouds hovering over the bay.
This city is bustling. The crowd is international, but mostly Asian, and mostly Chinese. This city oozes with fashionably dressed people, young and old, men and women. I love the practicality of this culture. Things work here. The subway is clean and easy to use. The trains run often and navigating through the system is unbelievably simple. There are public toilets everywhere; clean, and well stocked with toilet paper. It feels so civilized. The garden was completed in On our first day in HK we visited a lovely park.
Shady trees, pavilions, and a large pond populated with fish and turtles. Visitors are expected to follow a few rules:. We had a great time in Taiwan we flew in to Hong Kong today. In Taipei we visited two night markets, the Ningxia market fairly near our hostel, and the Huaxi Street night market in the Wanhua District.
The Ningxia night market fills a couple of blocks and is mainly food — meat on a stick, sticky rice, noodles, fish balls, fruit, etc. The stalls are tiny and line up cheek-by-jowl along the center of the street, making a narrow aisle where people crowd through, shouldering each other to get to the tasty Taiwanese specialties. The Huaxi Street is more organized, an actual built arcade a few blocks long, with the vendors mostly in stalls or even air-conditioned storefronts. And next to nothing is in English, which makes ordering food a bit challenging.
One restaurant we tried had an indoor seating area, but to order we were directed to a cart across the alley that held a variety unidentifiable raw animal bits. We gave that one a miss. The Wanhua district is one of the oldest areas of Taipei. We visited temples a flea market and two temples. The flea market was nothing special, mostly cheap Chinese clothing and battered tchotchkes.
A few items captured our fancy Timo got excited about a sword in an ornate scabbard , but nothing worth carrying around for a year. One stall had a box of pink rubbery things, each about the size of a large loaf of bread. We puzzled over these a while before realizing they were meant to be a vagina and anus, with a small bit of hair on top. A fun night out for the right type of guy, I suppose. Taipei is teeming with cats, and Timo purchased a bag of tiny dried fish with the goal of wooing some feline friends.
On an alley just off the flea market street we found a cat colony, and Timo set to work enticing the cats with his bag of fish. His efforts greatly amused the lovely ladies who shared the alley with the cats; Glenn and I stood by and watched, amused at the irony. We visited two temples, the Longshan Temple and the Qingshui Temple.
Both are beautifully ornate, both are Taoist temples, worshipping city gods. The Longshan Temple is quite large for a city temple, and very active. As the city was developed and temples were destroyed, many of the local gods were moved here. People bring offerings, mostly of flowers, but also fruit and bags of chips. Lighting of candles, burning of incense, praying.
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The worshippers were young and old. In the main hall was a service with people gathered in the courtyard singing along. The temple was crowded, the majority were there to worship their local folk gods. We interloping tourists were in the minority. The Qingshui temple was much smaller, but just as ornate. This temple was not crowded, as we arrive just before closing time. Indeed it was just us, the door keeper and a woman who seemed to be a docent of sorts, if temples have docents. She explained to him the history of the temple and told him a bit about the gods.
He understood a lot of it, and translated some for us. Timo came away energized from this encounter. It is thrilling so see him develop his skills, and to be so excited by it. On Monday we spent an afternoon in Hsinchu, a small city about an hour south of Taipei. The garden is great, a bit of nature in the city. They are young and hard working and have a wonderful vision of sustainability and internationalism.
I so enjoyed spending time with them.
They gave me hope for the future. Grass jelly can be a bit strange, but this was subtle and almost creamy in texture. I wish we had scheduled a longer stay in Taiwan. The food is great, the people are so nice. There is a practicality that is refreshing the only women I saw in high heels were the prostitutes in the cat alley. The Taiwanese are very unpretentious, which is so nice. The only downside to our stay in Taiwan was the immense heat and humidity. It was in the low-to-mid 30s the entire week, with high humidity.
Next time I come, I will not come in August!!! We arrived in Taipei early in the early morning of Aug 2 nd after an overnight flight that felt endless. I was nervous about customs and immigration, but we sailed through. Transport into town was easy to navigate. The hostel staff were happy to recommend a good breakfast spot.
This all seems, so far, typical of Taiwan. The country operates with a practical efficiency. The people are helpful without being overly solicitous. The city is a mix of shiny new highrises and narrow winding alleys of crumbing stone and concrete, patched in spots with bamboo leaves and corrugated metal. There are food vendors everywhere, from storefront carts with sidewalk seating to air-conditioned noodle shops, to hot pot restaurants, which somehow thrive in Loads of shops, kitchen shops, hardware stores, clothing shops, car parts.
Yesterday we saw a shop that sells chemistry equipment- long spiral tubes, Erlenmeyer flasks, beakers etc. How many chemists does it take to support such a shop? Is the city full of hobbyists titrating chemicals in their basements? Today we went to the National Palace museum, where we saw a piece of jade carved to look like a cabbage. This is, according to the literature, the most popular piece in the museum. People crowded three and four deep to have a look at it. What does this say about the Taiwanese national character? In an adjacent case was a piece of jade that looks like a chunk of braised pork.
This appeared to be the second most popular item in the museum, judging by the size of the crowd. My favorite items in the museum were year old bronze vessels: ornate, detailed, in no way primitive. There were also Neolithic jade axe heads. Jade blades — who would have thought? The garden at the museum has an extensive water feature that includes three large ponds and a stream that wends its way through the trees.
The fish in the pond are very fond of the food that comes from the vending machines. This lurid photo is fish swarming and gaping for the green pellets of fish food. Less than 30 days now until we leave on the trip. After 3 years of planning, our departure is on the horizon. Tickets purchased, reservations made, checklists are checked off, new checklists created. The house is cleaner than it has ever been.
I understand now why people have a cleaning service. Dust is alive and has an exponential growth profile. It turns out —surprise! With all the apparent glamour of a year of travel, there is also sacrifice involved.
Then we sit back and watch the fighters blow the crap out of everything. In a city with such a vast array of international cuisines aimed at expats and more adventurous local diners, hotel dining options are often overlooked. Promised Land. Plato: Totalitarian or Democrat? That's only about 2 miles per gallon.. I hear it every night, another gunfight, the tension mounts, on with the Body Count Children love to do word searches—and these 58 rewarding puzzles help develop their language and reading skills too!
It is a paring down, a shedding off our 20, 30 and even 40 year old selves and making space not only for our immediate venture but also for 60s, 70s and perhaps 80s. In some ways this purging has been like a little death. Hopefully we will get a rebirth experience to balance it out. Brave words. Most of us hold on needlessly.
I hope you are feeling free of all that and more as you embark on the adventure. Keep posting all! The adventure begins. Descriptions of food please. Not made of stone. Are you guys playing music yet? The food is mainly noodles with vegetables and meat, some sticky rice with meat sauce. It is delicious. The traditional breakfast is dumplings and egg sandwiches, the eggs cooked with onions. Our hostel provides a breakfast which is different each morning. It is usually some variation on scrambled eggs, ham and cheese, mashed potatoes, vegetables, fruit and bread. It is beautifully presented and delicious.
The street food is cheap and some of it is really good. Plus, mangoes are in season! So ripe you can peel the skin with your fingers! Dragonfruits are also ripe and come in the white-fleshed or pink-fleshed version.
Sweet and tasty, and the pink ones dye your fingers and tongue a vivid pink. He plans to get one in Australia. Happy Birthday Denise! She dug through her purse and was getting progressively more agitated. The driver finally found a square mirror in her purse, looked at it, and handed it to the policewoman. Can photos be posted by pals in comments?
A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see from her nameplate that her name is Patty Whack. Patty looks at the frog in disbelief and asks his name. Give the frog a loan. Thrilling stuff to read. Happy to be an inspiration for you. We are still keeping you in mind for Vietnam at xmas if you are still interested.
I am living vicariously! I love every word… you could do a book when its over for sure very interesting … People will read the book then do your trip! He will have done in this year more traveling than most do in their lifetime! Love and hugs, JoAnn. I love you. We are thankful that you are having an awesome adventure! And we hope you are all happy and healthy. Hi Denise, It looks like you are having a great trip. I enjoyed your fun photos and evocative writing on your impressions and experiences. It would be nice to see a few pics with you in them.
Safe travels! Your email address will not be published. Skip to content Hello! God bless Ludo. Europe We landed in Milan on January Here are some pictures with descriptions. Austria — Feb Mar 4. Graz, Austria. The crest of Styria, a white panther. The region of Styria as a lovely woman. That such evil can occur in a city this lovely is sobering. To the right is the very center of Graz, marked by a giant apricot pit. One knight in Graz. Detail on a well. Budapest ,Hungary Mar Central Europe is all limestone, so the water is chalky and just a bit salty.
The bronze shoes commemorate Jews who were shot and dumped into the Danube River. Some fat bronze guy. And Glenn and Timo. A satyr shields his eyes from the sun. This may have actually been in Graz. Emblem of some ruling family in Budapest. Alchemist stuff. Before the enlightenment, alchemists were the cutting edge of science. Who doesn't love Shaun the Sheep? Who doesn't want to eat Shaun the Sheep's poop for breakfast? Fisherman's Bastion again. The grand scale combined with the whimsy of this place fills me with glee. This type of anachronistic fairy tale architecture is pretty common in Central Europe.
Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest is the best example I saw on this trip. Prague, Czechia Mar Czechia is known for its beer. Glenn sampled the local brew our first night in Prague. Painted house in Prague. The Pragers do not shy away from ornamentation. This sculpture is from a Kafka story. Kafka was Czech and lived in Prague. Interesting to think of this troubled man wandering these lovely streets. Vaclav Havel Memorial. Local artists provided a lovely gown for this statue in the center of town.
Czechoslovakia set up a government in exile in London, and a resistance at home. Eventually one of the parachutists was pressured by his family to give information to the Nazis. You can see the bullet scars here by the window to the crypt. Old-New Synagogue. Jewish Cemetary. Spanish Synagogue. Giant metal babies. These were being installed on a TV tower, crawling up the side. The grave of a cartoonist in a Prague cemetary.
Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora. Kutna Hora is a small city near Prague, built from silver mining money. The Sedlec Ossuary is a small church decorrated with the bones of humans. Kutna Hora - Great example of flying buttresses! Fancy door, Kutna Hora. Berlin Mar Apr 1. Berlin Wall Grafitti. Berlin grafitti. Berlin Wall Mural. Berlin Street Art. Amsterdam April Amsterdam is all canals and bicycles. There are two bikes per every resident, so about 1. Bicycle built for four. Tulips in Holland - Whodathunk!
And check out those crazy tourists taking pictures of them! Creepy doll in a flea market. Amsterdam Street Art. Painted door, Amsterdam. Then he is to store up his general truths until he has the whole truth. This idea is doubly deficient, for it commits a historian to the pursuit of an impossible object by an impracticable method. Nothing in this chapter is unique to historical inquiry. The reader will find close parallels between practices discussed here and an analysis of question-framing in survey research.
Compare Stanley L. It should be noted that this is unfair to Bacon, and inaccurate as an understanding of his thought. Bacon's larger work, of which the Novum Organon is but a part, did not defend an induction as simple-minded as this, but rather a more complex method of interdependent inquiry and research.
Though the name is objectionable in this respect, I have adopted it because it is standard, on H. Joseph's assumption that "If it is useful to have a nomenclature of fallacies, it is useful to have a standard nomenclature. It cannot work, because there is an infinity of particulars in the past.
Their truth value is an objective entity that exists indepen- dently of an inquirer. But their particularity is separately denned by each inquiry. If a fact is a true statement about past events, then there is no practicable limit to the number of facts which are relevant to even the smallest historical problem. Scientific activity is not the indiscriminate amassing of truths; science is selective and seeks the truths that count most. Occasionally, it consists in an attempt to know everything about everything.
Sometimes it seeks to learn something about everything. Most often it is a search for every- thing about something. None of these purposes is remotely realizable. A historian can only hope to know something about something. The most common everything-about-something school imagines that historical science might be constructed on the same architectural principles as the Pyramid of Khufu, with monographs stacked upon thick square monographs in one vast granite pile, the whole massy structure to be crowned some day with the gilded figure of a historio- graphical Newton.
But a glance at the history of historical writing suggests that this is not at all the way in which historiography develops. The monographs do not commonly come first and the general interpretations second. Instead some master architect — not master builder — draws a rough sketch of a pyramid in the sand, and many laborers begin to hew their stones to fit. Before many are made ready, the fashion suddenly changes — pyramids are out; obelisks are in. Another master architect draws a sketch in the sand, and the hewing and chipping starts all over again. A few stones can be salvaged, but most have to be cut from scratch.
As Huizinga writes, "when the master builder comes, he will find most of the stones you have laid ready for him unusable. There are many objective truths to be told about the past — great and vital truths that are relevant and even urgent to the needs of mankind. But there is no whole truth to be discovered by a simple method of in- duction. Every true historical statement is an answer to a question which a historian has asked. Not to The Question. Not to questions about everything. But to questions about something. All the classic examples of the Baconian fallacy derive from the work of an earlier generation.
The best and clearest illustration is not Bacon, or Ranke, but a distinguished French historian, Fustel de Cou- langes He was also a splendid teacher. One day, his students responded to a lecture with an ovation. This method is slow, but it is the only one which is sure.
It is not the method of the doctrinaire, but of the inquirer. In these researches which require so much patience and so much effort, so much prudence and so much boldness, the opportunities for error are innumerable, and none can hope to escape it. The danger in all of this is well described by G. Gooch, who reports that Fustel "regarded his results as independent of himself and felt criticism as something like blasphemy. But he had merely disguised it. In his major work, written immediately after the Franco-Prussian War, the main thrust was a minimization of the significance of Teutonic influences which other scholars had found in the development of French and English institutions.
The relativists 5. Paris, , 5. Gooch, History and Historians in the Nineteenth Century, new ed. Boston, , p. Margaret Ashley London, But old error still survives, deep in the dark recesses of every historian's heart. Every now and then, he is apt to slip a little and allow the guilty secret to escape, like the character in an English academic novel who picked up the phone and said. Johnson's irritable opinion that "questioning is not a mode of conversation among gentlemen. Elton skirts this position, in an essay on historical method.
Preconceived notions are a much greater danger to historical truth than either deficiency of evidence or error in detail [he wrote]. Sociologists establish "models" which they test by supposedly empirical evidence. To an historian this seems a very dangerous procedure: far too often the model seems to dictate the selection of facts used to confirm it. The historian must certainly make one initial choice, of main area of study or line of approach. But after that if he is worth considering at all he becomes the servant of his evidence of which he will, or should, ask no specific questions until he has absorbed what it says.
There is an inherited antipathy to questions and hypotheses and models, which is apt to run below the surface of a historian's thought. The results are readily apparent in the conceptual poverty of many historical monographs — a poverty to be explained not by the stupidity of the authors, but rather by their habitual reluctance to give sufficient attention to the organization of their inquiry, to the speci- fication of their assumptions, and to the explication of their intentions.
American Historical Review 67 : In other parts of this work, the author adds qualifications. But his position, as I understand it, comes close to that of Fustel, and violates the succinct advice of Lord Acton: "Study problems, not periods. Other historians have much to learn from their con- structive example. Many wife-beating questions were deliberately concocted by that playful monarch Charles II, who enjoyed assembling the learned gentlemen of his Royal Society and asking them, with a sovereign contempt for logic as well as fact, to explain "why a live fish placed in a full bowl of water does not cause it to overflow, while a dead fish does cause it to overflow.
Instead, they in- vented answers of magnificent absurdity as an act of homage to a man who was himself a consistent living argument for republicanism. Historians, and others who attempt to think historically, have often committed the same error without intending it. A specimen is supplied by a distinguished sociologist, who wrote, in the context of the history of slavery in America: "There exists a major problem about American slavery, one on which a reader of even the best American historians on slavery will not be enlightened: indeed, if he limits his reading to his- torians he will hardly know that a problem exists.
Why was American slavery the most awful the world has ever known? Glazer frames his question in such a way as to beg another question. Other examples fly thick and fast in the historiography of the Amer- ican Reconstruction. Don E. Fehrenbacher, in an essay on the state of Ogden London, , p. Introduction by Nathan Glazer to Stanley N. New York, , p. All others are examples of the fallacy of many ques- tions, by any of the definitions listed above. Fehrenbacher's first question assumes that Reconstruction was either "shamefully harsh" or "surpris- ingly lenient," but maybe it was something else again.
The second ques- tion assumes that there was a single presidential plan of reconstruction, which is doubtful. The fourth commits precisely the same sort of error as the first; the fifth assumes that there were some clearly primary rad- ical motives, and thereby encourages a simple motivational monism so common in historical writing. The sixth, literally construed, assumes that the carpetbag governments were bad in some degree; the seventh assumes that freedmen in fact had new responsibilities, which were met in some degree.
The eighth assumes that the Redeemers did "ultimately" triumph. The ninth assumes that racial segregation did at some point in time harden into an elaborate mold, but maybe that institution has been continuously in process of change. There are other complaints to be entered against Fehrenbacher's questions. They are mostly metaphysical questions and counterquestions, and they are marred by the heavy-handed moralizing which has so seriously diminished Reconstruction historiography.
But the prior com- plaint in this chapter is that all of them commit the fallacy of many questions. The fallacy of false dichotomous questions is a special form of the fallacy of many questions, which deserves to be singled out for special condemnation. It arises from the abuse of an exceedingly dan- gerous conceptual device.
Dichotomy is a division into two parts.
If it Fehrenbacher, "Division and Reunion," in John Higham, ed. These three requirements are very difficult to satisfy in the organization of an empirical inquiry. It is rare that any two historical terms can be so related, unless one of them is specifically defined as the negation of the other.
And even then, there is often trouble. The law of the excluded middle may demand instant obedience in formal logic, but in history it is as intricate in its applications as the internal revenue code. Dichotomy is used incorrectly when a question is con- structed so that it demands a choice between two answers which are in fact not exclusive or not exhaustive.
But it is used often by historians in this improper way. Indeed, a little industry has been organized around it: the manufacture of the "problems" series of pamphlets for pedagogical purposes. These works conventionally begin with a false dichotomous question, allegedly designed to "stimulate" thought. The question takes the form of "Basil of Byzantium: Rat or Fink? Maybe that Byzantine character was neither a rat nor a fink, but something vastly more intricate, or something altogether different. But swarms of suffering undergraduates are asked to study a set of pedantical essays, half of which are exaggerated arguments for the rattiness of Basil and the other half are overdrawn portraits of Basil as a fink.
The disgusted undergraduate is expected to make a choice between these unappetizing alternatives, or perhaps to combine them in some ingenious paradoxical contrivance of his own invention, which falsifies both his understanding and the problem itself. The following examples are the actual titles of works which have been edited by reputable professional historians and issued by respec- table publishers such as Holt, Rinehart; Prentice-Hall; Houghton Mif- flin; Random House; and D. The Abolitionists: Reformers or Fanatics?
Jacksonian Democracy: Myth or Reality? Plato: Totalitarian or Democrat? John D. Rockefeller — Robber Baron or Industrial Statesman? The Robber Barons — Pirates or Pioneers? Huey P. Long — Southern Demagogue or American Democrat? The New Deal — Revolution or Evolution? Ancient Science — Metaphysical or Observational? Feudalism — Cause or Cure of Anarchy? The Medieval Mind — Faith or Reason? Renaissance Man — Medieval or Modern?
Martin Luther — Reformer or Revolutionary? The Scientific Revolution — Factual or Metaphysical? What Is History — Fact or Fancy? Many of these questions are unsatisfactory in several ways at once. Some are grossly anachronistic; others encourage simple-minded moral- izing. Most are very shallow. But all are structurally deficient in that they suggest a false dichotomy between two terms that are neither mutually exclusive nor collectively exhaustive. They are also imprecise, both in the dichotomous terms and in the troublesome connective "or," which might mean "either X or Y but not both" like the Latin aut , or "either X or Y or both" like the Latin vel , or "either A" or Y or both, or neither.
The "problems" that appear in these pamphlets are not merely a result of faulty pedagogical practice. Many of these titles reflect a false dichotomy which is deeply embedded in scholarly literature on the subject at hand. They are illustrations not only of the way in which many historians teach but also of the way in which they conceptualize and carry on their own research.
What can a student do, in the face of a false dichotomy? He can try several stratagems. First, he might attempt to show that the dichot- omous terms can coexist. Second, he might demonstrate that there is a third possibility. Third, he might repudiate one or the other or both alternatives. All of these devices will work, in a limited way. But all of them will have the effect of shackling the student's answer to the fallacious conceptualization he is attempting to correct.
The most satis- 12 INQUIRY factory response, I think, is to indicate the structural deficiencies in the question-framing and to revise the inquiry on that level, by the intro- duction of a more refined and more open question, which can be flexibly adjusted as the analysis proceeds. The problem of an exclusive choice between nonexclusive alter- natives is often confronted in declarative as well as interrogative sen- tences. The motto of the Prince of Orange was Non rapui sed recepi, which means, "I didn't steal; I received.
In this question, as in so many others, one can only endorse the sensible observation of Reuben Abel: "The continuum in which we live is not the kind of place in which middles can be unambiguously ex- cluded. In its most common contem- porary form, this fallacy consists in the framing of a question which cannot be resolved before the researcher settles some central metaphysical problem such as "What is the nature of things?
A prime example is the problem which is eternally popular among Civil War historians: "Was the War inevitable? But he can no more hope to resolve the issue of inevitability by empirical research than he can hope to determine by modern methods of quantification the number of angels which might be made to perch upon the head of a proverbial pin.
If Thomas J. Pressly is correct, in his study of historical interpreta- tions of the Civil War, the problem of inevitability has been the central historiographical problem. Thomas J. Kenneth M. Stampp, And the War Came, 2d ed. Chicago, , p. Their works are refutations of the argument that the Civil War was a "needless war," which was precipi- tated by a "blundering generation" of American political leaders.
Carr writes, "I am perfectly prepared to do without 'inevitable,' 'unavoidable. But let us leave them to poets and meta- physicians. The progress of an empirical science of history squarely depends upon a sense of the possible. The working historian, in my opinion, is well advised to deal with these dilemmas by a method of indifference. This is humbug. It can be argued that all historical problems can be made into metaphysical problems if Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. Stampp, p. See, e. Carr, What Is History? Carr believes that the in- evitability problem "attaches itself almost exclusively to contemporary history.
Last term at Cambridge," he writes, "I saw a talk to some society advertised under the title: 'Was the Russian Revolution Inevitable? But if you had seen a talk advertised on 'Were the Wars of the Roses Inevitable? The historian writes of the Norman conquest or the American war of independence as if what happened was in fact bound to happen, and as if it was his business simply to explain what happened and why" ibid. But this, unfortunately, is not true, at least as far as the American Revolution is concerned.
David Hawke writes, "Nothing intrigues colonial historians more than the question of why the American Revolution occurred. Was it a repressible conflict or not? I think it probable that his- torians debate the "repressibility" of every important happening which they are unable to accept unanimously as a Good Thing.
But there are many historical problems of primary importance to all inquirers, whatever their opinions may be, which are clearly not metaphysical. The reader will note that none of them are "why" questions. In my opinion — and I may be a minority of one — that favorite adverb of historians should be consigned to the semantical rubbish heap.
A "why" question tends to become a metaphysical question. It is also an imprecise question, for the adverb "why" is slippery and difficult to define. Sometimes it seeks a cause, sometimes a motive, sometimes a reason, sometimes a description, sometimes a process, sometimes a purpose, sometimes a justification. A "why" question lacks direction and clarity; it dissipates a historian's energies and interests.
There are many more practicable adverbs — who, when, where, what, how — which are more specific and more satisfactory. Questions of this sort can be resolved empirically, and from them a skilled historian can construct a project with much greater sophistication, relevance, accuracy, precision, and utility, instead of wasting his time with metaphysical dilemmas raised by his profound "why" questions, which have often turned out to be about as deep as the River Platte. It is improbable that this will happen, among historians, in the foreseeable future.
But it is already beginning to happen, in a quiet way, in monographs such as Thomas Barrow's Trade and Empire: The British Customs Service in Colonial America, 1 Cambridge, , a fine book which orthodox academic reviewers have utterly failed to understand. The hand of God? The dialectic? Some mighty dynamic of materialism? Maybe some American merchants helped to smash up the mercantile system for the same reason that Kirillov destroyed himself in Dostoevsky's The Possessed — to demon- strate that they were free. These questions are not for a historian, who can only measure the motives and purposes that are part of the act itself.
He can never hope to find the inner secret, maybe because it does not exist. Be that as it may, Barrow's book is a straw in the wind. His work suggests that there is a fair and steady offshore breeze which is blowing historians clear of the rocks and shoals of metaphysics, though some seem determined an ambiguity is intended to know the excitement of a shipwreck, which is the only kind of metaphysical finality that is open to them.
A rigorous attempt to purge history of metaphysics will, in truth, serve to narrow historical inquiry. To those who protest that the result would be a little too narrow, one might repeat the words of Nelson Goodman: "You may decry some of these scruples and protest that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy.
I am concerned, rather, that there should not be more things dreamt of in my philosophy than there are in heaven or earth. Journal of American History 54 : Some his- torians have argued that the direction of historiographical change is the opposite of that which I have suggested. Miss C. Wedgwood writes, "The older historians con- centrated more on narrative than on analysis, on the How rather than the Why of history. But now, for several generations, Why has been regarded as a more important question than How. This, I think, is mistaken. Perhaps the change has been from the implicit why of older narrative historians to the explicit Why of the last generation of monographers, to the controlled who, how, where, when, and what of historians who are presently beginning to publish.
There is nothing necessarily fallacious in fictional constructs, as long as they are properly recognized for what they are and are clearly distinguished from empirical problems. All novels are organized around an idea of what might have happened — some very great truths have been taught to the world in this disguise. Fictional questions can also be heuristically useful to historians, somewhat in the manner of meta- phors and analogies, for the ideas and inferences which they help to suggest.
But they prove nothing and can never be proved by an empirical method. All historical "evidence" for what might have happened if Booth had missed his mark is necessarily taken from the world in which he hit it. There is no way to escape this fundamental fact. Economic theory is theoretical in the narrow sense of the word. It deals in "if, then" propositions, unlike much social "theory," which is com- monly more paradigmatic in its nature. It is understandable that eco- nomic historians, more than others, are tempted by the seductive might- have-beens of "as if questions.
A few have even attempted to combine "fictional," "counterf actual," "conditional," or "as if questions as they are variously called with techniques of empirical quantification. The results are not merely false but absurd, for to quantify the conditional is to square the circle.
It is simply impossible for a singular statement to be both counterfactual and factual at the same time. The classic example is a controversial monograph by Robert W. Fogel, Railroads and Economic Growth: Essays in Econometric History Baltimore, , in which the author tries to prove that railroads were not "indispensable" to American economic growth in the nine- teenth century by demonstrating how the economy might have functioned if railroads had not existed.
Fogel measures "primary effects" of the transportation system in terms of the costs of haulage by railroads, as There is an immense philosophical literature on the subject of fictional questions, or "counterfactual conditionals. Indianapolis, , pp. This is the only point which I mean to argue here. He also estimates "secondary effects" — changes in spatial distribution, generation of demand for manufactures, etc. From these figures, he calculates that the "social saving" derived from the use of railroads was comparatively small, as a proportion of the gross national product.
And he concludes that railroads were in fact "dispensable" to economic development in nineteenth-century Amer- ica. His- tory is run off the rails in more senses than one. There is much to be salvaged from the wreckage — a zeal for quantification of historical problems, a determination to make questions and assumptions explicit, and an impressive conceptual sophistication. But Fogel's inquiry is flawed by three fatal inconsistencies: First, his evidence of a transportation net which might have operated in the absence of railroads is necessarily derived from a world in which railroads were present.
Fogel tries to allow for this bias in his material, but only by introducing other fictional constructs which assume what he promises to prove by empirical inquiry. The cost of haulage by canal boats is merely one of many imponder- ables. Fogel bases his estimates upon a situation where canals and rail- roads coexisted.
It is possible that competition between the two served in some measure to reduce rates for canal travel, but it is equally possible that if canals had been the mainstay of the transportation system, they would have been more efficient in their operations and a spur to tech- nological innovation, which might have reduced rates.
Who can say which? And yet, the question is critical to Fogel's thesis. Moreover, the secondary, tertiary, etc. Second, there is another serious flaw in Fogel's logic. He believes that "to establish the proposition that railroads substantially altered the course of economic growth, one must do more than provide information on the services of railroads. It must also be shown that substitutes for railroads could not or would not have performed essentially the same role" p. But this confuses two separate questions. It is one thing to ask, "Did railroads alter the process of American economic growth?
Edward Kirkland, an economic historian of the old school, complains that there is a kind of doublethink in the work of Fogel and his friends. For the former, a social saving of 5 percent of GNP appears small. But for Douglass North, "another card-carrying Cliometrician, 'a social saving of 5 percent is a very substantial saving. The second is not. And the first question does not require an answer to the second. It can, for example, be conclusively proved that Thomas Jefferson, as president, was the agent of certain great and grave events, such as the purchase of Louisiana.
But nobody will ever know if he was "indispensable" to that result, nor is the problem of his indispensability necessarily implied by the fact of his agency. No amount of empirical research will ever suffice to prove that Timothy Pickering, had he by some horrible twist of fate been elevated to the presidential chair, would or would not have done precisely what Jefferson did. His perverse opinions on Louisiana are well known, but the opinions which he might have held in different circumstances are utterly unknowable, and irrelevant to a proper his- torical inquiry.
And in precisely the same fashion, nobody will ever know what miracles might have been wrought by Fogel's counterfactual canal boats, which are not more mythical if a little more plausible than similar vessels which some enthusiasts have spied plying the alleged waterways of the planet Mars. Third, the question of the "indispensability" of railroads is com- parable to the problem of the "inevitability" of the Civil War.
Fogel is leading his Cliometrical colleagues down the methodological rathole of the metaphysical question. His work is a forward step, in its explicit- ness, sophistication, and attempt at quantification. But it is also a step backward in its return to ancient metaphysical conundrums which have distracted many generations of historians. This aspect of the New Eco- nomic History is not new at all, but ancient, and even anachronistic.
Fogel's counterfactual canals have created an uproar among eco- nomic historians. An immense controversial literature has appeared in their journals. Louis M. Hawke, "Mr. Once the period under review lengthens, the number of unconsidered and noncon- siderable factors that bear upon the outcome increases fast and the signi- ficance of the results diminishes faster. But be that as it may, his attempt at compromise will not work for other reasons.
The only difference between long-run and short-run counter- factuals is that the absurdity of the former is more glaringly apparent. It is not more extreme. Fogel has himself replied to critics of counterfactualizing with the argument that everybody does it, that the alternative to an open counter- factual model is a concealed one. There is, I think, an increasing body of historical literature which is noncausal in its nature in any meaningful or common sense of causality , and there is some which has refined the problem of causality so as to exclude problems such as inevitability and indispensability, by working closely from the assumption that things happened merely in the way that they happened and not in any other way.
This is not to affirm a determinism, nor to deny that men make choices, but merely to short-circuit the problem and to get on to others that we can handle. It is always possible, of course, to convert any historical problem into a nonhistorical one, but why should a scholar go out of his way to make a difficult problem impossible? History is tough enough, as it is — as it actually is. It is true that many other historians besides Fogel have resorted to explicit or implicit counterfactual models.
But it is not true that they must or should do so, for the same difficulties which developed in Fogel's Hans Vaihinger — mistakenly, I think. He argues that Fogel's counterfactuals are "fig- ments" in Vaihinger's terms. But they fit more closely into Vaihinger's category called "fictions," viz. Vaihinger clearly distinguishes between "fictions" and "hypotheses. They are therefore verifiable. Fictions are never verifiable; for they are hypotheses which are known to be false [sic], but which are employed because of their utility" p.
That is the point which is held for, here. Vaihinger observes that hypotheses are true or false, but fictions are merely expedient or inexpedient. Fogel, "The Specification Problem," p. Consider, for example, the work of an able political historian, Eric McKitrick. In an elaborate and sophisticated study of Andrew Johnson and the American Reconstruction, which was written in the years of the Eisenhower "consensus," McKitrick wondered if "an imaginary peace-making" might have been arranged between two influential Americans — Wade Hampton, a supposititious spokesman for the South Carolina "establishment," and John Andrew, allegedly of the Massachusetts "establishment.
The result is merely sentimental claptrap, which calls to mind a phrase from Eliot: Footfalls echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take Towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden 30 McKitrick's imaginary peacemaking brings to mind imaginary war-making, which seems almost as firmly established in the world today as war itself. German soldiers and statesmen, before they made war upon their various neighbors, formed the habit of conducting elaborate kriegspiele on blackboards and sandtables, which must have been as much fun as the real thing.
On the eve of World War II, German leaders played a war game among themselves, in which they demonstrated to their own satisfaction that England could not and would not intervene in Poland's interest. Today this grim gamesmanship is much in fashion among semiacademic nuclear strategists at the Rand Corporation, and the Hudson Institute, and, I am told, in the Red Army Historical Section as well. Let us hope that they will not make a similar mistake, and put their trust in a method which is not merely delusive to themselves but also exceedingly dangerous to others.
In that desperate predicament, Cold Warriors might beat their conceptual swords into historiographical plowshares and begin to dig up the past. Moreover, the Austro-Hungarian decision maker in the game suddenly "revealed pacifistic tendencies and readily accepted the objections to his nation's militaristic actions" the nature of that extraordinary conversion ex- perience is not explained.
The authors conclude with a Scotch verdict on their own efforts. That judgment is safe, and maybe sound I believe otherwise. But in the meantime, Fogel and McKitrick, and the counterfactualists, and the Kriegspielers, might profit from the advice of those learned, if unlov- able logicians, Tweedledum and Tweedledee: "I know what you're thinking about," said Tweedledum; "but it isn't so, nohow. That's logic. The problem is a difficult one, much complicated by developments in an important new discipline linguistics , and a revolution in an old one philosophy , both of which have spawned a vast literature of sophisticated and useful scholarship.
All historical questions are semantical in some degree, in that they are attempts to establish intelligible relationships between the signs and symbols of our language on the one hand and the evidence of our past on the other. But some questions which historians have asked are merely seman- The American Political Science Review 61 : New York, n. Semantical questions are "term questions," in the fashion of the origi- nal term question, which was not the least of many miseries inflicted by well-meaning Western missionaries upon the suffering souls of China.
But in fairness to the missionaries, it should be said that the Chinese seem to be culturally predisposed to term questions. Witness the legendary Ming emperor who dealt with a dangerous river by a sort of semantical flood control project. Semantical questions are deeply embedded in our own culture as well. A classical example is the conversation between Alice and the White Knight in Through the Looking Glass: "You are sad," the Knight said in an anxious tone: "let me sing you a song to comfort you.
The name of the song is called 'Haddocks' Eyes' " "Oh, that's the name of the song, is it? The name really is 'The Aged Aged Man. The song is called 'Ways and Means': but that's only what it's called, you know!
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