Truth and Interpretation in Legal History

The essay consists of four sections. Section I discusses the nature of historical explanation, devoting some attention to the roles of “truth,” interpretation, and detachment in historical scholarship. Section II continues that discussion by exploring the meaning and the purpose of what I call “interpretive detachment” in the writing of history. Section III considers the theoretical assumptions of Marxist legal historians from the point of view developed in preceding sections. Section IV, taking into account some issues that remain problematic or troublesome, restates my approach.