Ibn Khaldun Based on your readings, what is Ibn Khaldun’s attitude towards previous works of history?
Khaldun’s attitude towards history can be described quite sufficiently by applying the term scientific and this attitude reflects quite clearly in his writings. Of course he does appreciate the art of the historian since he accepts that historian of the past have had a high aim for teaching and educating people with their works of learning that show how ancient people lived. For instance, he believes that there are valuable lessons to be drawn from the study of previous works of history since they give information on both worldly and religious subjects.
However, he is also quite adamant on the point that getting information from one source alone is not enough for a student of history because additional sources help to verify and confirm the information contained within one source. This approach is clearly scientific since a theory or a fact gains acceptance as more and more researchers come to the same conclusion on a hypothesis. Additionally, Khaldun suggests that anyone who is studying history must evaluate the given information on his/her own before accepting tradition as the truth.
As an example, he discusses how monetary figures, military numbers and other such points can be exaggerated or completely falsified. In the case of estimating military might he suggests that a historian study the figures and see if the numbers are realistically possible given the social setup of a country. Taking a commonsense approach to the study of history is certainly something which can help improve the understanding of a historian.
In these terms, his appreciation for the older works of history becomes lower because he notices how numbers given for the armies of a country do not match up with the size of the nations and how the genealogy of certain figures does not match up with the time passed between the forefathers and the famous figures. Therefore while the student can learn history fromancient
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