Objectivity and reliability of historical knowledge.

Objectivity and reliability of historical knowledge.



This essay deals with the problem of objectivity and reliability of historical knowledge. As we know historical facts are sometimes subjective or it can be under the pressure of ideology. To distinguish such kind of problems we have to follow some methodological rulesand steppes which are I`m going to explain. To achieve and explain that goal I used analyzing,synthesing, collecting necessary data and I want to share my scientific experience and knowledge. In this essay I want to show the importance of source studies and source criticism.

Key words. Source studies, objectivity, history, methodology of history.

Main part.

         History is built on real facts and events. The objectivity of knowledge is considered one of the main signs of its scientific character. At the same time, the problematic nature of achieving objective humanitarian knowledge often serves as one of the arguments in favor of declaring this sphere of knowledge as such, which goes beyond the scope of science.The legitimate criticism of the objectivity of historical facts is more concerned with when an occurrence is historical than with when it is a fact. It does not give grounds for doubts as to whether, after all, objectively true statements of fact about the past can actually be established [1]. For example, it is a fact that Kazakhstan became an independent country in 1991. Although data like this does not form the point of history, the simple establishment of facts is an important element in the process of historical research. The untangling of the facts is potentially valuable even if they cannot be explained at the time or placed in a historical context. The fact that the establishment of data is the result of a process of selection and is probably directed by subjective influences does not make the data less true or less objective. The most it can do is to make them less significant or less interesting. Many historians will regard it as of no consequence that Kazakhstan became independent in 1991, but what historian would seriously deny that Kazakhstan became, after all, independent in 1991? When historians are interested in facts about the past it is because of their possible historical status, which, in practice, means their historical significance. We must therefore ask whether there are any objective criteria for the granting of the epithet ‘significant’ to some events and ‘insignificant’ to others[2].

         In many cases, everyone can assume that the history is more subjective than objective. Because historians write from themselves and analyze in their own way. For example, Heradotusin his book "History" wrote that he writes what he saw with his own eyes and what he did not see but only heard. About the origin of the Saks, he wrote that they are cannibals. Many philosophers like Kant have written about objectivity that it is important. Eurocentrists like O. Spengler denied the objectivity of history. Because some events can not be restored in any way because they have passed [3].

Of course, this problem is arguable. But I will try solve this issue. To prove that history as science can be objective and reliable we need to know the importance of source studies. The source study as an scientific field is cruicial.The importance of source studies is underestimated. As we know, history is built on sources such as annals, documents, artifacts, epistolary data, notes and memos, statistics, laws, acts. Using these sources, the historian interprets history. Of course, if he or she is a real historian, he (she) will write all the information as it is. In our history, it is impossible not to note that Muhammad Shaibani, as an exemplary author of "Tawarihi Guzidai Nusrat Nameh", wrote that the Kazakh khans descended from Tukai Timur and did not have the right to own the throne. We can assume that this was the case, but if we compare this work with other medieval sources, we can understand that the Shaibanids were rivals with the Kazakh Khans. And we can fully assume that this book was written according to the ideology of Muhammad Shaibani. In the works of Zain al-Din Wasifi, Muhammad Haidar Dulati, it can be understood that the history written by the Shaibanids is subjective. From here it follows that historians first and foremost, to compare sources with each other. In this way, you can find and write the truth.

Following the rules of how to compare and analyze the story, you can reach the truth. In modern times, you can use sources as diaries and compare them with archival documents. You can compare information from the newspaper with laws and regulations. The work of a historian is complex, but if you remember that the sources need to be compared, then the work will be objective.For example, during the time of totalitarianism, both newspapers and statistics were distorted, but epistolary sources can be useful.

I wan to mention that analyzing of author of the source is also cruicial. We need to ask youself ‘Who is the author?’, ‘Can I rely on him?’, ‘with what kind of documents and sources I can prove his or her point?’


         In conclusion I want to say that comparison, analyzing, evaluating arecruicial skills that every historian should know. History is a science. To follow the laws of science and write objectively, you need to:

1.     collect all the information sources on the topic,

2.     analyze them,

3.     compare them,

4.     evaluate them,

5.     research the author,

6.     compare them with other sources.

So, these are steps to write objective and reliable history science.


                                                                                                        Baibukasheva Aidana
                                                                         student of the Faculty of History, Archeology                                                                                       and Ethnology, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University,


1.     Lorenz C. Historical Knowledge and Historical Reality. P. 357, 364.

2.     Popper K. R. Open Society and its enemies. Vol. 1: The Charms of Plato; Vol. 2: The Time of the Prophets: Hegel, Marx and other oracles. K.: Nika-Center, 2005. pp. 404-406.

3.     Popper K. R. Assumptions and refutations: The growth of scientific knowledge. Moscow: AST, 2008. p. 517.

4.     Mukhatova O. H. Historical and historiographical data. Monograph. -Almaty, 2012. - 269 pages.

5.     Mukhatova O. science of historiography: theoretical and methodological fundamentals and research models. Training manual. Almaty, 2009. -186 pages.