Dissertation, Benue State University (2016)
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An introduction to Professor Uya’s philosophy of history class starts with this caution, ‘as a historian, you must learn to think’. Put differently, you must learn to develop a critical mind for healthy scepticism. If Philosophy, is having second thought, that is thinking about the nature of some form of human thought and the implications of some body of human knowledge in the most ultimate and far-reaching way, then Professor Uya’s introductory remarks to his students of philosophy of history is not out of place. Historical judgements can be made by any student through careful and critical reading of the work of modern historians and by paying some attention to the biography, social and intellectual milieu of the author of the book he is reading. The author’s life and background will indicate his experiences and the ideas upon which he will draw in his facts and make inference. As a distinct historical field, historiography implies a systematic study of the way the historian does his work. It involves four different but closely related historical activities. The first is the reflection on the trends and patterns of historical writing and a systematic study of all the important historians; the second, is the discovery of critical analysis of historical sources; the third, is the construction and description of the past on the basis of the facts acquired; the fourth is the construction on the basis of the ascertain facts, of some general theory which gives meaning and inner logic to the known past.1 It is useful for students because it will allow the student to see the whole sweep of historical literature and the changing assumptions and values that govern historical judgements in the modern world. Conscientious reading, research and writing which professor Uya puts his student through has not only given them this broad knowledge, of major historical trends, the course as taught by him, has undoubtedly expedited the gaining of this insight and understanding.
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