What is the rationality of the generalization of sources?

The main job of framing formula or generalization is to press all the details of the narratives to yield a very significant results. It sum up the entire research within a few cogent, and well thought out passages. It is the epilogue, the gist, the final assessment or estimate of the whole work. Naturally it becomes the very essence of whole research. It has the same force in history as general formulas or laws have in science.

Framing a formula is very complicated process, which involves a very clear understanding of all the important places in history writing. Historical data that had been so carefully collected, examined and scrutinized, grouped and arranged are now subject to a different type of operation. It require a different skill, where a lot of observation would be necessary to furnish historical synthesis. This operation tells us what kind of relationship exists among the numerous facts and that have been detailed earlier of narrative. It is the higher form of analysis which employs general terms, deals with broad principles and relates to value judgment. Its main task is the search for the binding connections among the facts which form the ultimate conclusion of every science.

The formula that is framed should confirm to certain accepted standard. Historical facts differs in precision, yet they have to deal with situation through intensive search for fresh records whereby we will be able to remove to the deficiency in the information. Formulas framed by reducing a number of facts to a few generalizations and obtaining uniformities for the whole period except for the names and dates. The language used in formula must be simple, precise and unambiguous using only descriptive terms. To frame a formula as generalization we should know beforehand what element ought to enter into it. The distinction must be made between general facts and unique facts. General facts are those events which are often repeated and are common to a number of men. We have to determine the character, extent and duration. We unite under the same formula all the individual cases which greatly resembles each other by neglecting the individual difference. In order to fix the precise extent of a habit we have to know the region where it is most common. The formula must also indicated the duration of the habit. We must look for the doctrine, usage, institutions and the group.

If we are going to frame a formula as to how a particular custom or habit has been evolved, we have to take into account the various it has passed through. By comparing all the variations in the habits, it will be possible to determine the general course of the evolution. All conclusions confirm to a set pattern and common features indication the stages. Every habit begins by being the spontaneous acts of several individuals. According to B. Shaikh Ali, when others imitate them it becomes the usage. This is the first stage. Individual initiative is followed by general imitation and recognition. The usage becomes tradition and is transformed into obligatory custom or rule. This is the state of tradition and authority. Finally in certain societies, the rule is criticized and rational change is affected. This is the stage of reforms and checks. A historian need to be able to discern the stages, find out nature and describe it in suitable terms. This refers to the general facts which exists in time and spaces. What exactly is done here is to carefully observe the pattern of change in habit at every stage, and check that with reference to habit in other areas and find the similarities exist in the pattern. If the answer is affirmative then we can conclude that the behaviroual pattern in almost every case is the same. If we want to know the factors responsible for war, we need to try to probe deep human motives, intensions, ambitions, greed.

If we are in need of a formula to describe a character, there are two natural temptations that we must take care of. One is danger of constructing a formula out of person’s assertion in regard to himself. When a person indulge in self-praise we ought to be careful before we believe in all his claims. The other is risk of using imaginary characters.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.