Mark pullen’s mystery provided interesting point about history.
First of all, to start with, with the given information for mark pullen’s case I would say there can be some possible interpretation to the situation however there is absolutely no way to confirm anything.
One of the reason is due to the characteristic of the history; that huge assumptions have to be made. For example, we are starting the interpretation with huge assumption that the person dead is Mark Pullen. Now, if you think about it carefully, we reached to this conclusion because of the identity card from the wallet that the dead body had. Do we know it is his wallet? Yes, there would be high possibility that it is his, but it is still a possibility. If it is not Mark Pullen’s , then all the assumption made upon it will be false. Ok, lets ‘assume’ that it is Mark Pullen’s, now what? Again, we assume that he must have been dentist, due to the schedule found way before his death. But here, we do not know if he actually have been on hi schedule and we do not know when he was dead. So if you again, assume that he was on the schedule and dead around 2 hours or so, next assumption has to be made.
This tells us about what is history. Every process of how we come up with the modern History nowadays would be similar to this process, only, they will have much wider range of information. However, it is based on huge assumptions and as result, there is hardly, in fact impossible to find an absolutely truthful history. But it does not mean History is unreliable at all.
What defines the reliability of the History is the possibility; assumptions are assumptions however they are not all same. Provided numbers and numbers of information which falls in the same assumption made, then that is much higher possibility then the other. For example, in Mark Pullen’s case, it is much reasonable to say that Pullen was killed by a robber(given that there was no money in the wallet) or by a car accident ( given that there was tyre track around) than saying he committed suicide. Thus, all the processing has to be inductive reasoning. because what we do in attempt to find out the history is to look at evidences (wallet, tyre track and so on) and reach the closest possible conclusion which satisfies all the given evidences. In this case it does not guarantee the conclusion is truth because assumptions made are not necessarily true as well.
From this we can see how History is worked out by inductive reasoning. However to some extent it is quite reliable because, as mentioned above, for some historical events there will be numerous evidences. And to conclude the History which satisfies all that evidences, it would have to be highly accurate. So the more (reliable)evidences there are, the more accurate conclusion would be. For example, in Mark Pullen’s case, if there has been a DNA check (even though it might not have been available at that time) and identity was definitely Mark Pullen, one huge assumption is gone. I find this process somewhat similar to that of sciences: in Science, you are also never sure of an absolute numerical value for something because there is always random uncertainties (human error, symmytery through the system). However you go through the same experiments numbers of time and average the value, concluded numerical value would be pretty precise. In this case as well, the more experiments are repeated, the more precise the value will be.