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The Why of ThingsCausality in Science, Medicine, and Life$
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Peter Rabins

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164726

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164726.001.0001

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Narrative Truth

Narrative Truth

The Empathic Method

(p.157) 9 Narrative Truth
The Why of Things

Peter V. Rabins

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the application of the empathic method to the study of causality. The empathic method refers to the nonscience form of knowing and is also known as history, narrative, story, and chronicle. The chapter considers the central features of the narrative method of knowing, along with its advantages and the similarities between the empathic and empirical methods. It also scrutinizes the methods of the historian and illustrates the limitations and strengths of the narrative methods by revisiting the libel case filed by author David Irving in an English court in 2000 against the American historian Deborah Lipstadt, who wrote a book entitled Denying the Holocaust in which she accused Irving of falsifying documents to bolster his claim that the Holocaust did not happen. Finally, the chapter looks at the success behind the Wright Brothers's invention of the airplane, the many different interpretations of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, and the role of the narrative in causal reasoning.

Keywords:   empathic method, causality, David Irving, Deborah Lipstadt, Wright Brothers, Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, causal reasoning

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