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Formalization and Quantification in Historical Analysis

Formal Methods, Labor History

The article argues that formal methods will remain on the periphery of the field historical research until the major questions of the field change to ones that can be properly addressed by explicit models, system variation, or the comparison of many cases. This is because quantification is useful in historical analysis as a function of (1) the complexity of the explanatory model, (2) the intrinsic quantifiability of the phenomenon to be explained, (3) the importance of variation to the argument, and (4) the number of units observed.