The Monist 72 (4):526-541 (1989)

The question, R. M. Hare concedes, “has assumed great importance in the thought of some philosophers, for example Cook Wilson and Collingwood.” A concession, because after a couple of sentences Hare concludes: “we need say no more about questions.” The implication is that in contrast with his two Oxford predecessors the topic has little importance in his philosophy. This isn’t quite so, it will be seen. But it is in line with a tendency among philosophers to relegate the topic, often quite literally, to a footnote. They would be wiser to take questions more seriously; not least because any theory of meaning which connects meaning in some way to the concept of truth—as most do—has to explain how interrogative sentences, which cannot sensibly be said to express what is true or false, can yet have a meaning. Questions also present a challenge to the easy assumption that all thought is either true or false. Even to think of something, it can be argued, is to think that certain descriptions are true of it: to think of a cat is to think of something as having four legs, fur, and so forth. Collingwood’s way of meeting the challenge isn’t immediately apparent. In An Autobiography he does seem to reject the assumption
Keywords Collingwood   Theory of Knowledge
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ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI 10.5840/monist198972427
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