GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: XDF

Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal points—periods, countries, dramatic events, and great leaders. It also has had clear and firm notions of scholarly procedure: how one inquires into a historical problem, how one presents and documents one's findings, what constitutes admissible and adequate proof. The recent popular psychohistory, committed to Freudian psychoanalysis, takes a radically different approach. This commitment precludes a commitment to history as historians have always understood it. Psychohistory derives its "facts" not from history, the detailed records of events and their consequences, but from psychoanalysis of the individuals who made history, and deduces its theories not from this or that instance in their lives, but from a view of human nature that transcends history. It denies the basic criterion of historical evidence: that evidence be publicly accessible to, and therefore assessable by, all historians. Psychohistorians, convinced of the absolute rightness of their own theories, are also convinced that theirs is the "deepest" explanation of any event that other explanations fall short of the truth.

Question List: 1 2

Which of the following best states the main point of the passage?

  • A The approach of psychohistorians to historical study is currently in vogue even though it lacks the rigor and verifiability of traditional historical method.
  • B Traditional historians can benefit from studying the techniques and findings of psychohistorians.
  • C Areas of sociological study such as childhood and work are of little interest to traditional historians.
  • D The psychological assessment of an individual's behavior and attitudes is more informative than the details of his or her daily life.
  • E History is composed of unique and nonrepeating events that must be individually analyzed on the basis of publicly verifiable evidence.

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