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Toward Cliodynamics – an Analytical, Predictive Science of History

  • Author(s): Turchin, Peter
  • et al.
Abstract

This article responds to those who think that a science of history is in principle impossible. First, I tackle the issue of prediction and point out that it is not limited to forecasting the future. Scientific prediction is also (an much more usefully) employed in empirical tests of scientific theories. Next, I switch from conceptual to empirical issues, and review evidence for general empirical regularities. I also discuss some recent examples of using scientific prediction in testing theories about historical dynamics. I conlcude by pointing out that we now have the right quantitative tools and, even more important, a growing corpus of historical data for testing theories. An analytical, predictive history, or cliodynamics, is eminently possible.

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