Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 19:14:47 -0400 From: Fred Shapiro Subject: Presentism Again The earliest citation I have found for _presentism_ is the following: 1943 Robert M. Hutchins _Education for Freedom_ 31-32 A second reason why some people doubt the social utility of the education I favor is that they belong to the cult of immediacy, or of what may be called presentism. In this view the way to comprehend the world is to grapple with the reality you find about you. ... There is no past. Hutchins uses the word in the sense 'a bias toward the present' rather than in the sense Ms. Gibbens was looking for, 'viewing the past through the lens of present-day attitudes.' For the latter sense, the following are the earliest citations I have found: 1950 Chester M. Destler in _American Historical Review_ 55: 507 It can be seen that subjectivist-relativist-presentism, plus the definition of history and thought, and the distrust of concepts of causality, continuity, and the possibility of generalization, constitute together the conceptual foundations of the new school of historical theory. 1951 _Amer. Hist. Rev._ 56: 451 The concept of "presentism" as it is described in Mr. Destler's article has no counterpart among serious philosophers. Still earlier citations may lie in Merriam-Webster's files, since Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary gives a dating of 1923 for _presentism_. Can anyone from Merriam-Webster subscribing to this list provide the earliest citations from those files for the two senses of the word? +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++ + Fred R. Shapiro Editor + + Associate Librarian for Public Services OXFORD DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN + + Yale Law School LEGAL QUOTATIONS + + e-mail: shapiro[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] (Oxford University Press) + +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++