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# Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal

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Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 03 Sep 2019, 06:15
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 250, Date : 05-Aug-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details

Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal points—periods, countries, dramatic events, and great leaders. It also has had clear and firm notions of scholarly procedure: how one inquires into a historical problem, how one presents and documents one’s findings, what constitutes admissible and adequate proof.

Anyone who has followed recent historical literature can testify to the revolution that is taking place in historical studies. The currently fashionable subjects come directly from the sociology catalog: childhood, work, leisure. The new subjects are accompanied by new methods. Where history once was primarily narrative, it is now entirely analytic. The old questions “What happened?” and “How did it happen?” have given way to the question “Why did it happen?” Prominent among the methods used to answer the question “Why” is psychoanalysis, and its use has given rise to psychohistory.

Psychohistory does not merely use psychological explanations in historical contexts. Historians have always used such explanations when they were appropriate and when there was sufficient evidence for them. But this pragmatic use of psychology is not what psychohistorians intend. They are committed, not just to psychology in general, but to Freudian psychoanalysis. This commitment precludes a commitment to history as historians have always understood it.

Psychohistory derives its “facts” not from history, the detailed records of events and their consequences, but from psychoanalysis of the individuals who made history, and deduces its theories not from this or that instance in their lives, but from a view of human nature that transcends history. It denies the basic criterion of historical evidence: that evidence be publicly accessible to, and therefore assessable by, all historians. And it violates the basic tenet of historical method: that historians be alert to the negative instances that would refute their theses. Psychohistorians, convinced of the absolute rightness of their own theories, are also convinced that theirs is the “deepest” explanation of any event, that other explanations fall short of the truth.

Psychohistory is not content to violate the discipline of history (in the sense of the proper mode of studying and writing about the past); it also violates the past itself. It denies to the past an integrity and will of its own, in which people acted out of a variety of motives and in which events had a multiplicity of causes and effects. It imposes upon the past the same determinism that it imposes upon the present, thus robbing people and events of their individuality and of their complexity. Instead of respecting the particularity of the past, it assimilates all events, past and present, into a single deterministic schema that is presumed to be true at all times and in all circumstances.

1. Which of the following best states the main point of the passage?

(A) The approach of psychohistorians to historical study is currently in vogue even though it lacks the rigor and verifiability of traditional historical method.
(B) Traditional historians can benefit from studying the techniques and findings of psychohistorians.
(C) Areas of sociological study such as childhood and work are of little interest to traditional historians.
(D) The psychological assessment of an individual’s behavior and attitudes is more informative than the details of his or her daily life.
(E) History is composed of unique and nonrepeating events that must be individually analyzed on the basis of publicly verifiable evidence.

2. It can be inferred from the passage that one way in which traditional history can be distinguished from psychohistory is that traditional history usually

(A) views past events as complex and having their own individuality
(B) relies on a single interpretation of human behavior to explain historical events
(C) interprets historical events in such a way that their specific nature is transcended
(D) turns to psychological explanations in historical contexts to account for events
(E) relies strictly on data that are concrete and quantifiable

3. It can be inferred from the passage that the methods used by psychohistorians probably prevent them from

(A) presenting their material in chronological order
(B) producing a one-sided picture of an individual’s personality and motivations
(C) uncovering alternative explanations that might cause them to question their own conclusions
(D) offering a consistent interpretation of the impact of personality on historical events
(E) recognizing connections between a government’s political actions and the aspirations of government leaders

4. The passage supplies information for answering which of the following questions?

(A) What are some specific examples of the use of psychohistory in historical interpretation?
(B) When were the conventions governing the practice of traditional history first established?
(C) When do traditional historians consider psychological explanations of historical developments appropriate?
(D) What sort of historical figure is best suited for psychohistorical analysis?
(E) What is the basic criterion of historical evidence required by traditional historians?

5. The author mentions which of the following as a characteristic of the practice of psychohistorians?

(A) The lives of historical figures are presented in episodic rather than narrative form.
(B) Archives used by psychohistorians to gather material are not accessible to other scholars.
(C) Past and current events are all placed within the same deterministic schema.
(D) Events in the adult life of a historical figure are seen to be more consequential than are those in the childhood of the figure.
(E) Analysis is focused on group behavior rather than on particular events in an individual’s life.

6. The author of the passage suggests that psychohistorians view history primarily as

(A) a report of events, causes, and effects that is generally accepted by historians but which is, for the most part, unverifiable
(B) an episodic account that lacks cohesion because records of the role of childhood, work, and leisure in the lives of historical figures are rare
(C) an uncharted sea of seemingly unexplainable events that have meaning only when examined as discrete units
(D) a record of the way in which a closed set of immutable psychological laws seems to have shaped events
(E) a proof of the existence of intricate causal interrelationships between past and present events

7. The author of the passage puts the word “deepest” (line 44) in quotation marks most probably in order to

(A) signal her reservations about the accuracy of psychohistorians’ claims for their work
(B) draw attention to a contradiction in the psychohistorians’ method
(C) emphasize the major difference between the traditional historians’ method and that of psychohistorians
(D) disassociate her opinion of the psychohistorians’ claims from her opinion of their method
(E) question the usefulness of psychohistorians’ insights into traditional historical scholarship

8. In presenting her analysis, the author does all of the following EXCEPT:

(A) Make general statement without reference to specific examples.
(B) Describe some of the criteria employed by traditional historians.
(C) Question the adequacy of the psychohistorians’ interpretation of events.
(D) Point out inconsistencies in the psychohistorians’ application of their methods.
(E) Contrast the underlying assumptions of psychohistorians with those of traditional historians.

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Originally posted by nitya34 on 29 Mar 2009, 02:46.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 03 Sep 2019, 06:15, edited 8 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (383).
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Re: Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal  [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2013, 12:36
Hi Shakti,

Let me see if I can help. Here is 26:

26. The author of the passage puts the word “deepest” (line 44) in quotation marks most probably in order to. So - we are looking for a reason why a word is put into speech marks. So we're looking for a hint that the author gives us to his intended meaning by using this device. So just as '?' tells us something (that we have sjust read a question) so to does '". It's clearly not the most obvious reason (direct speech) - so we're looking for something else.

(A) signal her reservations about the accuracy of psychohistorians’ claims for their workThis is the one that makes sense. By quoting something, and so putting it as a word used by someone else (like you are when you quote speech) you are showing that this is not a word you as the author would use. This also makes sense within the flow of the argument 0 - that our author is skeptical about the claims

Does that make sense?

James
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Re: Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal  [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2013, 01:23
shakti751 wrote:
Can any one explain the logic for 26th one? I am getting no clue why the author quoted the word...

The line 44 says "Psychohistorians, convinced of the absolute rightness of their own theories, are also convinced that theirs is the “deepest” explanation of any event, that other explanations fall short of the truth."

As per my understanding, in putting the word deepest in quotes, the author is critical of the Psychohistorians ways and thinks they may not be right in assuming that their theories are absolutely right. Hence, she is, in a way, questioning the accuracy of their claims.

26. The author of the passage puts the word “deepest” (line 44) in quotation marks most probably in order to
(A) signal her reservations about the accuracy of psychohistorians’ claims for their work
(B) draw attention to a contradiction in the psychohistorians’ method
(C) emphasize the major difference between the traditional historians’ method and that of psychohistorians
(D) disassociate her opinion of the psychohistorians’ claims from her opinion of their method
(E) question the usefulness of psychohistorians’ insights into traditional historical scholarship
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Concentration: Marketing, Finance
GMAT 1: 710 Q50 V35
Re: Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal  [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2014, 03:52
I strongly feel 23 should be B. Look at the following statements:
" The old questions “What happened?” and “How did it happen?” have given way to the question “Why did it happen?” Prominent among the methods used to answer the question “Why” is psychoanalysis, and its use has given rise to psychohistory."

So "what happened" and "How did it happen?” are clearly conventions governing traditional history.

Kudos to anyone who proves me wrong.
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Posts: 7
Re: Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal  [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2018, 01:08
Someone explain Q23. It is given that "Psychohistory does not merely use psychological explanations in historical contexts. Historians have always used such explanations when they were appropriate and when there was sufficient evidence for them". From this we can clearly answer the question in option (c), "When do traditional historians consider psychological explanations of historical developments appropriate?". They find it appropriate when there is sufficient evidence for them.
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Re: Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal  [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2018, 03:10
Hello,

Can somebody explain why the answer to Q23 cannot be C given the below lines?
Psychohistory does not merely use psychological explanations in historical contexts. Historians have always used such explanations when they were appropriate and when there was sufficient evidence for them.

Thanks.
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Re: Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal  [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2019, 09:55
1. Which of the following best states the main point of the passage?

(A) The approach of psychohistorians to historical study is currently in vogue even though it lacks the rigor and verifiability of traditional historical method. - Right Answer. The passage starts with the introduction of study of history to introduce psychohistorians' point. Then, it explained psychohistorians' approach and its negative aspects.
(B) Traditional historians can benefit from studying the techniques and findings of psychohistorians. - It cant be this because the passage emphasizes on negative aspects of psychohistorians' study.
(C) Areas of sociological study such as childhood and work are of little interest to traditional historians. - This point is mentioned but it is not the main point.
(D) The psychological assessment of an individual’s behavior and attitudes is more informative than the details of his or her daily life. - The psychological assessment is important but it is not compared with the daily life of an individual.
(E) History is composed of unique and nonrepeating events that must be individually analyzed on the basis of publicly verifiable evidence. - This point has been expressed but on the basis of publicly verifiable makes it wrong.

2. It can be inferred from the passage that one way in which traditional history can be distinguished from psychohistory is that traditional history usually

(A) views past events as complex and having their own individuality - in the last paragraph, we can see that psychohistorians' consider opposite thing which author has criticised as being violating the discipline of history. This means people are usually following that.
(B) relies on a single interpretation of human behavior to explain historical events - this is psychohistorian's view
(C) interprets historical events in such a way that their specific nature is transcended - this is psychohistorian's view
(D) turns to psychological explanations in historical contexts to account for events - this is psychohistorian's view
(E) relies strictly on data that are concrete and quantifiable - nothing as such is mentioned.

3. It can be inferred from the passage that the methods used by psycho historians probably prevent them from

(A) presenting their material in chronological order - nothing as such is mentioned.
(B) producing a one-sided picture of an individual’s personality and motivations - psycho historians do this so we can be sure this is not being prevented.
(C) uncovering alternative explanations that might cause them to question their own conclusions - Correct - it is mentioned in the passage - "And it violates the basic tenet of historical method: that historians be alert to the negative instances that would refute their theses."
(D) offering a consistent interpretation of the impact of personality on historical events - psycho historians try to do this from psychological aspect
(E) recognizing connections between a government’s political actions and the aspirations of government leaders - nothing as such is mentioned.

4. The passage supplies information for answering which of the following questions?

(A) What are some specific examples of the use of psychohistory in historical interpretation?
(B) When were the conventions governing the practice of traditional history first established?
(C) When do traditional historians consider psychological explanations of historical developments appropriate?
(D) What sort of historical figure is best suited for psychohistorical analysis?
(E) What is the basic criterion of historical evidence required by traditional historians? - Correct - This is mentioned - It denies the basic criterion of historical evidence: that evidence be publicly accessible to, and therefore assessable by, all historians

5. The author mentions which of the following as a characteristic of the practice of psychohistorians?

(A) The lives of historical figures are presented in episodic rather than narrative form.
(B) Archives used by psychohistorians to gather material are not accessible to other scholars.
(C) Past and current events are all placed within the same deterministic schema. - Correct - This is mentioned in the last paragraph - It imposes upon the past the same determinism that it imposes upon the present, thus robbing people and events of their individuality and of their complexity.
(D) Events in the adult life of a historical figure are seen to be more consequential than are those in the childhood of the figure.
(E) Analysis is focused on group behavior rather than on particular events in an individual’s life.

6. The author of the passage suggests that psychohistorians view history primarily as

(A) a report of events, causes, and effects that is generally accepted by historians but which is, for the most part, unverifiable - nothing as such mentioned.
(B) an episodic account that lacks cohesion because records of the role of childhood, work, and leisure in the lives of historical figures are rare - nothing as such mentioned.
(C) an uncharted sea of seemingly unexplainable events that have meaning only when examined as discrete units - opposite of what psychohistorians view.
(D) a record of the way in which a closed set of immutable psychological laws seems to have shaped events - We can infer this from the last paragraph
(E) a proof of the existence of intricate causal interrelationships between past and present events -history is not considered as a proof.

7. The author of the passage puts the word “deepest” (line 44) in quotation marks most probably in order to

(A) signal her reservations about the accuracy of psychohistorians’ claims for their work - this emphasis points to author's own views being different from that of what PH claims.
(B) draw attention to a contradiction in the psychohistorians’ method
(C) emphasize the major difference between the traditional historians’ method and that of psychohistorians
(D) disassociate her opinion of the psychohistorians’ claims from her opinion of their method
(E) question the usefulness of psychohistorians’ insights into traditional historical scholarship

8. In presenting her analysis, the author does all of the following EXCEPT:

(A) Make general statement without reference to specific examples.
(B) Describe some of the criteria employed by traditional historians.
(C) Question the adequacy of the psychohistorians’ interpretation of events.
(D) Point out inconsistencies in the psychohistorians’ application of their methods.
(E) Contrast the underlying assumptions of psychohistorians with those of traditional historians.

Can somebody give the answer to 8th question? I dont agree with D being OA.

Also, let me know if i am correct in other explanations!
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Re: Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal  [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2019, 20:48
carcass

Can you please explain Q3
3. It can be inferred from the passage that the methods used by psychohistorians probably prevent them from

(A) presenting their material in chronological order
(B) producing a one-sided picture of an individual’s personality and motivations
(C) uncovering alternative explanations that might cause them to question their own conclusions
(D) offering a consistent interpretation of the impact of personality on historical events
(E) recognizing connections between a government’s political actions and the aspirations of government leaders

I understand where C is coming from but I dont understand why B is incorrect?

Psychohistory derives its “facts” not from history, the detailed records of events and their consequence, but from psychoanalysis of the individuals who made history, and deduces its theories not from this or that instance in their lives , but from a view of human nature that transcends history.

Is it wrong to deduce from here that it is not just one viewpoint that is being considered as right or wrong but pyschonalysis of various historians and hence it prevents from providing one sided picture.
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Re: Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal  [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2019, 05:17
please give explanation to 8 th
Re: Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal   [#permalink] 02 Sep 2019, 05:17
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# Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal

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