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Robin George Collingwood (1889-1943) was both a British philosopher and a practising historian specialized in the archaeology and history of Roman Britain. His most important contributions to philosophy were on philosophy of history and on aesthetics. In both these areas R. G. Collingwood's reflection was based on his own experience as a historian and as an artist respectively, although only in the first field he was a first class figure. As a philosopher of history, he defended the superiority of history as a form of knowledge with respect to natural sciences, and its methodological independence from them. As a philosopher of art, he understood art as the expression of emotion in the language of imagination. He also made top contributions in meta-philosophy, metaphysics and political philosophy. Collingwood is usually considered to be a British Idealist, although such categorization is polemic because he himself denied it in different places.

Key works

Collingwood's first important work was published in 1924. Its title was Speculum Mentis (Or the Map of Knowledge), and can be considered as his first systematic attempt at describing our complete experience of the world. A year later, he published Outlines of a Philosophy of Art (1925), where he proposed to consider art as an imaginative activity that attempts to achieve beauty and by which we enjoy it. From here he moved on to the consideration of the place and methodology of philosophy as a distinct form of knowledge in An Essay on Philosophical Method, published in 1933 (and reedited in 2005). Five years later, in 1938, he returned once again to the philosophy of art, in The Principles of Art, where he substantially revised and expanded his original definition of art, considering it now as the expression of emotion in the language of imagination. Around this time, Collingwood was conscious of the seriousness of the illness that would end his life, and published An Autobiography in 1939 as his philosophical testament. In the last years of his life, he managed to prepare and publish An Essay on Metaphysics (1998) where he considered Metaphysics to be the study of absolute presuppositions and not the study of being; and The New Leviathan (1942) which is more than a contribution to the war effort, as Collingwood himself considered it, and can be better viewed both as a complete summary of more than twenty years of philosophical work, and as his last attempt at providing a coherent explanation of mankind (individual, society, civilization and barbarism). Finally and although Collingwood's reflection on the philosophy of history was a constant throughout his life, he didn't publish any major work during it and his views are scattered in many articles. Following his own plans but after his death and both from the materials he published and from the ones he left unpublished, his ideas on the subject can be studied in The Idea of History, Essays on the Philosophy of History, and The Principles of History.

Introductions - Collingwood's entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2010). - TAYLOR, D.S.: R. G. Collingwood--A Bibliography: The Complete Manuscripts and Publications, Selected Secondary Writings, with Selective Annotation Garland (1988). - TOMLIN, E.W.F.: R. G. Collingwood (1961). - JOHNSON, P., R. G. Collingwood: An Introduction (1998).
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  1. Ri Aaron (1944). Robin George Collingwood, 1889-1943. Proceedings of the British Academy 29:24.
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  2. A. M. Adam (1995). Book Reviews : R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History. Rev. Ed., Edited and with a New Introduction by J. Van der Dussen, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993. Pp. Xlvii, 510. $108.00 (Cloth. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 25 (2):256-258.
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  3. David Aldridge (2012). The Logical Priority of the Question: R. G. Collingwood, Philosophical Hermeneutics and Enquiry-Based Learning. Journal of Philosophy of Education 46 (4):71-85.
    The thesis that all learning has the character of enquiry is advanced and its implications are explored. R. G. Collingwood's account of ‘the logical priority of the question’ is explained and Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutical justification and development, particularly the rejection of the re-enactment thesis, is discussed. Educators are encouraged to consider the following implications of the character of the question implied in all learning: (i) that it is a question that is constituted in the event rather than prepared or given (...)
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  4. Samuel Alexander (1927/1978). Art and Instinct. R. West.
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  5. R. T. Allen (1993). Mounce and Collingwood on Art and Craft. British Journal of Aesthetics 33 (2):173-176.
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  6. Nathan Andersen (2004). Repetition and Re-Enactment: Collingwood on the Relation Between Natural Science and History. Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (3):291-311.
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  7. D. R. Anderson (1998). Collingwood, Robin George. In Michael Kelly (ed.), Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. Oxford University Press. 1--393.
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  8. Douglas R. Anderson (1990). Artistic Control in Collingwood's Theory of Art. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 48 (1):53-59.
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  9. Douglas R. Anderson & Carl R. Hausman (1992). The Role of Aesthetic Emotion in R. G. Collingwood's Conception of Creative Activity. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 50 (4):299-305.
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  10. J. G. C. Anderson (1924). Two Books on Roman Britain Roman Britain. By R. G. Collingwood, F.S.A. One Vol. Crown 8vo. Pp. 104 (Maps, Photographs, Drawings). London: Oxford University Press, Humphrey Milford, 1923. 2s. 6d. Net. The Romans in Britain. By B. C. A. Windle. One Vol. 8vo. Pp. Xii + 244 (65 Illustrations). London: Methuen and Co., 1923. 12s. 6d. Net. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 38 (3-4):82-83.
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  11. L. Armour (2003). Giuseppina D'Oro: Collingwood and the Metaphysics of Experience. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (4):730-734.
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  12. Pablo Arnau (1997). Relativismo Cognitivo E Historicidad: (Dilthey, Collingwood, Gadamer). Universitat de València.
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  13. Alexander Astrov (2005). On World Politics: R.G. Collingwood, Michael Oakeshott, and Neotraditionalism in International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan.
    This book outlines an idea of world politics as thinking and speaking about the conditions of world order. World order is understood not as an arrangement of entities but a complex of variously situated activities conducted by individuals as members of diverse associations of their own. Within contemporary international relations it entails a theoretical position, neotraditionalism, as a reformulation of the initial "traditionalist" approach in the wake of rationalism and subsequent reflectivist critique.
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  14. C. J. B. & Christopher Dreisbach (1995). R. G. Collingwood: A Bibliographic Checklist. Philosophical Quarterly 45 (180):417.
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  15. Pablo Badillo O'Farrell & Enrique Bocardo (eds.) (2005). R.G. Collingwood: Historia, Metafísica y Política: Ensayos E Interpretaciones. Universidad de Sevilla. Secretariado de Publicaciones.
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  16. Sorin Baiasu (2013). Introduction: Kant and the British Idealists. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 19 (1):1-18.
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  17. John A. Bailey (1963). A Reply to Mischel's "Collingwood on Art as 'Imaginative Expression'". Australasian Journal of Philosophy 41 (3):372 – 378.
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  18. J. Balazova (1995). Human Dimensions of Collingwood, Rg Philosophy of History. Filozofia 50 (9):470-478.
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  19. J. Balazova (1989). La Conception de l'Homme Dans la Philosophie de l'Histoire de Collingwood. Filozofia 44 (1):36-43.
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  20. Roger Bannister (2005). Collingwoods Enchantment. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 11 (2):161-168.
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  21. David Bates (forthcoming). Rediscovering Collingwood's Spiritual History (In and Out of Context). History and Theory.
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  22. Michael Beaney (2006). Rex Martins Reading of Collingwoods Essay on Metaphysics. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 12 (1):83-103.
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  23. Michael Beaney (2005). Collingwoods Conception of Presuppositional Analysis. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 11 (2):41-114.
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  24. Michael Beaney (2001). Collingwood's Critique of Analytic Philosophy'. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 8:99-122.
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  25. Richard Bellamy (1991). The Social and Political Thought of R.G. Collingwood. History of European Ideas 13 (4):469-469.
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  26. Rosa Belvedresi (1997). Collingwood y el constructivismo histórico. Revista de Filosofía (Madrid) 17:187.
    En este trabajo trataré de mostrar que existe en la obra de Collingwood una unidad si se considera su concepción de la historia y, si bien no creo que algunos cambios en su desarrollo puedan obviarse, me inclino por una lectura que tienda a verlos como modificaciones en sus tesis que, vistas diacrónicamente, permiten reconocer cierta continuidad. Lo que me propongo, entonces, es criticar la interpretación realista de los primeros escritos de Collingwood oponiendo una lectura constructivista que muestre la continuidad (...)
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  27. E. F. Bertoldi (1984). Gadamer's Criticisms of Collingwood. Idealistic Studies 14 (3):213-228.
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  28. E. F. Bertoldi (1984). Gadamer's Criticisms of Collingwood. Idealistic Studies 14 (3):213-228.
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  29. Mark Bevir (1999). Universality and Particularity in the Philosophy of E. B. Bax and R. G. Collingwood. History of the Human Sciences 12 (3):55-69.
    This article examines the ways in which E. B. Bax and R. G. Collingwood attempted to avoid relativism and irrationalism without postulating a pure and universal reason. Both philosophers were profound historicists who recognized the fundamentally particular nature of the world. Yet they also attempted to retain a universal aspect to thought - Bax through his distinction between the logical and alogical realms, and Collingwood through his doctrine of re-enactment. The article analyses both their metaphysical premises and their philosophies of (...)
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  30. David Blaazer (1991). Reviews : David Boucher, The Social and Political Thought of R.G. Collingwood (Cambridge University Press, 1989). Thesis Eleven 29 (1):129-131.
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  31. James A. Blachowicz (1976). History and Nature In Collingwood's Dialectic. Idealistic Studies 6 (1):49-61.
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  32. David W. Black (1982). Collingwood on Corrupt Consciousness. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 40 (4):395-400.
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  33. Deborah Blackman & James Connelly (2001). Learning From the Past. Philosophy of Management 1 (2):43-54.
    Through a consideration of the views of R. G. Collingwood on historical knowledge and conceptual change, this paper addresses organisational issues such as history, culture and memory. It then subjects the idea of learning histories to critical scrutiny. It concludes that, because of their potential to become framing mental models, they may be in danger of failing to achieve the purposes for which they are used.
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  34. Charles Booth (2004). R G Collingwood. The Philosophers' Magazine 26 (26):53-53.
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  35. Charles Booth (2004). R. G. Collingwood. The Philosophers' Magazine (26):53-53.
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  36. Thorsten Botz-Bornstein (2012). The Conscious and the Unconscious in History:Lévi-Strauss, Collingwood, Bally, Barthes. Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (2):151-172.
  37. D. Boucher (2002). Collingwood and Anthropology as a Historical Science. History of Political Thought 23 (2):303-332.
  38. David Boucher (2002). RG Collingwood. In Leemon McHenry, P. Dematteis & P. Fosl (eds.), British Philosophers, 1800-2000. Bruccoli Clark Layman. 262--70.
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  39. David Boucher (1997). The Significance of R. G. Collingwood's Principles of History. Journal of the History of Ideas 58 (2):309-330.
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  40. David Boucher (1993). Human Conduct, History, and Social Science in the Works of R. G. Collingwood and Michael Oakeshott. New Literary History 24:697-717.
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  41. David Boucher (1989). The Social and Political Thought of R.G. Collingwood. Cambridge University Press.
    This is the first comprehensive study of the political philosophy of the British philosopher R. G. Collingwood, best known for his contributions to aesthetics and the philosophy of history. However his political thought, and in particular his book The New Leviathan, have been neglected, even dismissed in some quarters. Professor Boucher argues for the importance of this political theory and provides a perspicuous account of its development and originality. He contends that The New Leviathan is an attempt to reconcile philosophy (...)
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  42. David Boucher & Teresa Smith (eds.) (2013). R. G. Collingwood: An Autobiography and Other Writings: With Essays on Collingwood's Life and Work. Oup Oxford.
    This volume presents a many-faceted view of the great Oxford philosopher R. G. Collingwood. At its centre is his Autobiography of 1939, a cult classic for its compelling 'story of his thought'. That work is accompanied here by previously unpublished writings by Collingwood and eleven specially written essays on aspects of his life and work.
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  43. Thom Brooks (2011). British Idealism. Oxford Bibliographies Online.
    British idealism flourished in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. It was a movement with a lasting influence on the social and political thought of its time in particular. British idealists helped popularize the work of Immanuel Kant and G. W. F. Hegel in the Anglophone world, but they also sought to use insights from the philosophies of Kant and Hegel to help create a new idealism to address the many pressing issues of the Victorian period in Britain (...)
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  44. D. G. Brown (1968). Action. TorontoUniversity Press.
    An essay in descriptive metaphysics, this book offers a sketch of the concept of action embodied in pretheoretical, folk ways of speaking. It focuses on the points of view of the agent and spectator in the kind of action in which the question of what to do can arise for the agent. It explores the relations among such action, inanimate action, and the inanimate action of parts of the body on external objects, finding in them analogous roles for the notion (...)
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  45. Merle Elliott Brown (1966). Neo-Idealistic Aesthetics. Detroit, Wayne State University Press.
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  46. Gary Browning (2013). Rethinking Collingwood's Hegel. In Lisa Herzog (ed.), Hegel's Thought in Europe: Currents, Crosscurrents and Undercurrents. 177.
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  47. Gary Browning (2009). Collingwood, Hegel and the Owl of Minerva. In James Connelly & Stamatoula Panagakou (eds.), Anglo-American Idealism: Thinkers and Ideas / [Edited by] James Connelly and Stamatoula Panagakou. Peter Lang.
  48. Gary Browning (2007). Collingwood and the Logic of Continuity and Discontinuity. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 13 (2):71-92.
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  49. Gary K. Browning (2004). Rethinking R. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Rethinking R.G. Collingwood reviews Collingwood's thought via his own rethinking of Hegel. It establishes the revisionary character of Collingwood's defence of liberal civilization in theory and practice. Collingwood is seen as avoiding the pitfalls of Hegel's teleological historicism by developing an open and contestable reading of the rationality of liberal civilization, which neither reduces practice to theory nor philosophy to history. The contemporary relevance of Collingwood's standpoint is demonstrated by comparing it with those of recent defenders and critics of liberalism (...)
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  50. Gary K. Browning (2004). Rethinking R.G. Collingwood: Philosophy, Politics, and the Unity of Theory and Practice. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Rethinking R.G. Collingwood reviews Collingwood's thought via his own rethinking of Hegel. It establishes the revisionary character of Collingwood's defence of liberal civilization in theory and practice. Collingwood is seen as avoiding the pitfalls of Hegel's teleological historicism by developing an open and contestable reading of the rationality of liberal civilization, which neither reduces practice to theory nor philosophy to history. The contemporary relevance of Collingwood's standpoint is demonstrated by comparing it with those of recent defenders and critics of liberalism (...)
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