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Ahistoricism refers to a lack of concern for history, historical development, or tradition.[1]

Charges of ahistoricism are frequently critical, implying that the subject is historically inaccurate or ignorant (for example, an ahistorical attitude). It can also describe a person's failure to frame an argument or issue in a historical context or to disregard historical fact or implication.[2] An example of this would be films including dinosaurs and prehistoric human beings living side by side, even though they were in reality millions of years apart.

It also can be descriptive of a view that history has no relevance or importance in the decision making of modern life.[3]

In some academic contexts, ahistoricism is the accepted norm. For example, the history of science is generally considered a quite separate discipline from, and not directly important to, research science.[4] In philosophy, some criticism has arisen because "the dominant school of philosophy in the English speaking world, analytic philosophy [...] has been trenchantly ahistorical, and indeed anti-historical", but that this is a problem remains a minority view.[5][better source needed]

A more abstract definition of ahistoricism is simply independence from time, i.e. removed from history. For example, the idea that some concepts aren't governed by what is learned or has happened in the past, but come from an ahistoric power, independent of what has gone before.

Examples of ahistorical films


  1. "ahistoricism". Mirriam-Webster Dictionary Online. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  2. Pepper, David (1993). Eco-socialism: From Deep Ecology to Social Justice. Routledge. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-0-415-09719-2. 
  3. "ahistoricism". Define Online. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  4. Gooday, Graeme; et al. (2008). "Does Science Education Need the History of Science?" (PDF). Isis. 
  5. Akehursta, Thomas (2009). "Writing history for the ahistorical: Analytic philosophy and its past". History of European Ideas. 
  6. Burr, Ty (March 8, 2008). "Yabba-dabba-don't". Boston.com. Globe Staff. Retrieved December 20, 2010.