“We see and understand things not as they are but as we are.” Discuss this claim in relation to ethics and history.
When looking back at historical events, especially ones that did not produce the best situations, we often have a perspective where we regret decisions made in the past. History being the studies of past events, we are able to see the aftermath and outcome, as well as evaluate those with our logic. However, the way we study history is in fact, somewhat biased. “We see and understand things not as they are but as we are.” This statement focuses on the subjectivity and objectivity of how humans perceive the surroundings. The “we” being an indication of our own perspectives, and “they” expressing the other side of a story that could be the truth in past events.
The two Areas of Knowledge that are applicable for this statement are History and Ethics. “History is written by victors”, a quote by Winston Churchill explains the main inquiry we raise for this area; how can the past events we know differ from the actual truth? Ethics, on the other hand is the study of morals. This area asks if we will ever know what is ‘correct’ or ‘wrong’ in certain situations. When learning historical events, the way we see and understand will be based on our morals. These morals being based on emotions such as nationalism, can be one of the key factors to how we perceive history.
As a personal opinion, this statement can be supported through the two areas of knowledge, History and Ethics. Since our morals are mostly based on our experience, surroundings, and emotions, these can create bias or ethnocentricity. Bias can effect both of the areas, and will most likely support the statement. In history, why are some events featured more than others? However some historians claim that history is subjective, due to its use of the primary sources. Which makes us think; is it morally ‘correct’ to take out minor events that are thought as ‘insignificant’?