Narrative Logic. Semantic Analysis of Historian's Language by F.R. Ankersmith

By F.R. Ankersmith

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Let us return to our discussion of the CLM-ist’s interpretation of the narratio. From the foregoing we may conclude that being in conformity with the CLM is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition for a piece of language to be an acceptable narratio: we can conceive of a set of sentences that satisfies the CLM-ist’s requirements and is nevertheless not a narratio; on the other hand we have found — with Fain — that there are many intelligible narratios that do not show a clear CLM-structure.

However, as we all know, clarity is not enough for a narratio to be acceptable. We must bear in mind that narratios are always accounts of what happened in the past. In our search for the ideal narratio we have not yet considered the obvious question of what in the ideal narratio, the relation should be between (historical) reality and its narrative representation. Therefore, the next three proposals for defining the ideal narratio will try to determine the ideal relation between (parts of) the past and its narrative account.

Danto’s account of the narratio is a refinement of White’s, but not a radical departure from it. A number of objections can be raised regarding these attempts to construct the ideal narratio along the lines of the CLM. In the first place there is the problem of the subject of change that is supposed to remain more or less the same during the change. This requirement is plausible enough as long as we are dealing with the rather commonplace examples used by Danto (like most philosophers) to illustrate his thesis.

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