This book argues that R.G. Collingwood developed a complete and coherent political philosophy of civilization. In making this case it also demonstrates that Collingwood's philosophical work comprises a unity in which, although there was development, there is no fundamental discontinuity between his earlier and later writings. A philosophy of civilization must situate its subject matter within the full context of human experience and therefore Collingwood's political philosophy of civilization must be situated within the context of his whole philosophy. The book (...) presents the case that Collingwood developed a coherent philosophy of politics and civilization, that this had its roots in both the early and the later work; and that his overall philosophical approach comprises a generally consistent and integrated whole. (shrink)
Both in An Autobiography and in An Essay on Metaphysics R.G. Collingwood defines the study of metaphysics as primarily at any time an attempt to discover the absolute presuppositions of thinking and secondarily as an attempt to discover the corresponding absolute presuppositions of other peoples and other times, and to follow the historical process by which one set of presuppositions has turned into another. In addition, he states that the distinction between what is true and what is false does not (...) apply to them. The objection often raised against this definition is that it has nothing to do with metaphysics in the traditional sense and that it only refers to a history of ideas. In this article I try to show the link between Collingwood's apparently idiosyncratic definition of metaphysics and the traditional one. I, therefore, have to sketch the background against which Collingwood's concept of metaphysics and the peculiar terminology he makes use of must be interpreted. This reconstruction of the original background is necessary in order to make clear what Collingwood means by his project of a „reformed metaphysics" as a historical inquiry into the absolute presuppositions of human thinking about reality. (shrink)
R. G. Collingwood’s 'The Principles of Art' argues that art is the expression of emotion. This dissertation offers a new interpretation of that philosophy, and argues that this interpretation is both hermeneutically and philosophically plausible. The offered interpretation differs from the received interpretation most significantly in treating the concept of ‘art’ as primarily scalarly rather than binarily realisable (this is introduced in ch. 1), and in understanding Collingwood’s use of the term ‘emotion’ more broadly (introduced in ch. 2). -/- After (...) the exposition of ch. 1, the remainder of that chapter and the subsequent three chapters are each centred around one sort of objection. In ch. 1, I consider the objection that Collingwood’s scalar understanding of ‘art’ is deviant and unhelpful. I respond by first observing that the understanding is not deviant, and second that it is more philosophically and artistically illuminating. In ch. 2, I consider the objection that Collingwood’s understanding of ‘emotion’ is so narrow that it fails to do justice to the fact that art can be philosophically potent. I respond that his understanding of ‘emotion’ is broad enough that this objection fails. In ch. 3, I consider the objection that Collingwood has no theoretical room for the prima facie plausible thought that some emotions are not worth expressing in art. In response, I reinterpret the points that appear to support this contention in a way that makes them both more plausible and more Collingwoodian. Finally, in ch. 4, I consider the objection that Collingwood does not have the theoretical room to do justice to the value of the delight we take in art. I respond by arguing that although he does not have this room to say that this delight is itself an artistic value, it does yet have an important place in his philosophy. (shrink)
Howard Callaway's new edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Society and Solitude is an invaluable contribution to both the primary and secondary literature on Emerson. Its contribution to the primary sources is its use of the original 1870 edition of Emerson's text, though with modernized spellings to facilitate the reader's understanding. Its contribution to the secondary literature consists in the scholarly apparatus of page-by-page annotations, an introduction, a chronology, a bibliography, and an index. Callaway's Society and Solitude is a worthy companion (...) to his earlier edition of Emerson's The Conduct of Life. (shrink)
In an earlier article I reported the text Ajax offered by the so-called ‘Roman’ family of Sophocles, the manuscripts G, R, and Q. My present purpose is to give collations of G, R, and Q for Philoctetes, with some introductory comments confined to this play; I hope I may be allowed to refer the reader to my previous article for a discussion of the general problems arising from a study of these manuscripts.
R.G. Collingwood defined historical knowledge as essentially ‘scientific’, and saw the historian's task as the ‘re-enactment of past thoughts’. The author argues the need to go beyond Collingwood, first by demonstrating the authenticity of available evidence, and secondly, using Namier as an example, by considering methodology as well as epistemology, and the need to relate past thoughts to their present context. The ‘law of the consumption of time’ encourages historians to focus on landmark events, theories and generalisations, thus breaking from (...) Collingwood's emphasis on fidelity to past ideas and interpreting the past from the concepts of the present. This conflict can only be reconciled by the study of historiography. (shrink)
Mr Olding's recent attack on my exposition of the argument from design gives me an opportunity to defend the central theses of my original article. My article pointed out that there were arguments from design of two types—those which take as their premisses regularities of copresence and those which take as their premisses regularities of succession. I sought to defend an argument of the second type. One merit of such an argument is that there is no doubt about the truth (...) of its premisses. Almost all objects in the world behave in a highly regular way describable by scientific laws. Further, any scientific explanation of such a regularity must invoke some more general regularity. The most general regularities of all are, as such, scientifically inexplicable. The question arises whether there is a possible explanation of another kind which can be provided for them, and whether their occurrence gives any or much support to that explanation. I urged that we do explain some phenomena by explanation of an entirely different kind from the scientific. We explain states of affairs by the action of agents who bring them about intentionally of their own choice. Regularities of succession, as well as other phenomena may be explained in this way. Explanation of this kind I will term intentional explanation. Intentional explanation of some phenomenon E consists in adducing an agent A who brought E about of his own choice and a further end G which, he believed, would be forwarded by the production of E. (shrink)
This book explains and defends a central ideas in the theory of history put forward by R. G. Collingwood, perhaps the foremost philosopher of history in the 20th century. Professor Dray analyses critically the idea of re-enactment, explores the limits of its applicability, and determines its relationship to other key Collingwoodian ideas, such as the role of imagination in historical thinking, and the indispensability of a point of view.
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 (...) in advance, and that this leads to a necessary tension between learning and the curriculum or scheme, (ii) that it is a question that concerns some subject matter or issue that is at stake for both the student and the object of study, which draws our attention to the ‘intentionality’ of learning, and (iii) that it is a question that operates on the level of being—students are ‘called into question’, and thus transformed, by the object of study. (shrink)
This paper aims to analyze R. G. Collingwood’s maiden work in philosophy, Religion and Philosophy, in the light of the realism/idealism dispute in early twentieth-century British philosophy. Due to scholars’ narrow scopes of interests, this book has suffered divided and unsettled understandings in literature that find only either realist or idealist character in it. By contrast, I comprehensively examine various aspects of the work on which both readings rest in turn—his conception of history and metaphysics. Consequently, I find out that (...) Collingwood implicitly elaborates a series of negative doctrines attempting to overcome dualismspervading at both poles of the dispute, namely abstract/concrete, subject/object, and theory/action. Since this framework is to be more explicitly present in his subsequent philosophizing, I demonstrate that Religion and Philosophy was, against its underestimated status in literature, not mere juvenilia, but a substantialstarting-point for Collingwood’s philosophy constructively grounded in the contemporary debate. (shrink)
On what grounds will the rational man become a Christian? It is often assumed by many, especially non-Christians, that he will become a Christian if and only if he judges that the evidence available to him shows that it is more likely than not that the Christian theological system is true, that, in mathematical terms, on the evidence available to him, the probability of its truth is greater than half. It is the purpose of this paper to investigate whether or (...) not this is a necessary and sufficient condition for the rational man to adopt Christianity. (shrink)
R.G. Collingwood is not normally associated with analytic philosophy, neither negatively nor positively. He neither regarded himself, nor was regarded by his contemporaries and their successors, as an analytical philosopher. However, the story is more interestingly complex than this, both because Collingwood is one of the few pre-analytics in the UK who continues to be of interest to current analytical philosophers, especially in relation to the philosophy of art and history and his conception of metaphysics, and because he mounted a (...) critique of analytical philosophy in the years of its emergence. (shrink)
An alleged moral right to informational privacy assumes that we should have control over information about ourselves. What is the philosophical justification for this control? I think that one prevalent answer to this question—an answer that has to do with the justification of negative rights generally—will not do.
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 (...) history. Finally an attempt is made to use their arguments as starting-points from which to arrive at a historicist resolution of the problems of relativism and irrationalism. (shrink)
Given the fact that both R.G. Collingwood and P.F. Strawson introduced, inspired by Kant, a 'reform of metaphysics' and thereby used a strikingly similar terminology, the absence of an extensive article about the comparison between their concepts of a 'reformed metaphysics' is, to say the least, rather surprising. The first aim of this article is filling up this gap. But there is more at stake. Traditionally, a twofold connection is laid between their concepts of metaphysics. First, there is the fact (...) that both authors consider metaphysics as a reflexion about the basic presuppositions of our thought and so subscribe to Kant's 'reform of metaphysics'. Subsequently, the central point of difference to be considered is that Strawson sets basic presuppositions as universal and invariable and so more directly leans against Kant than Collingwood who ascribes to these presuppositions a variable and cultural-historical character. In this article — and that is its central aim — I would like to make some critical remarks to this interpretation. First, I try to show how the resemblances between their concepts of metaphysics originate from their adoption of both Kants 'Copernican revolution' and his repudiation of transcendent metaphysics. Furthermore, I want to point out the differences between both their concepts of metaphysics, starting from their respective interpretations of Kant s transcendental idealism. While Strawson propounds an 'anodyne' interpretation of transcendental idealism, Collingwood proposes a 'radicalization' of transcendental idealism. Against the backdrop of these different interpretations, the contrast between the universal character of Strawson's metaphysics and the so-called historical-relativist character of Collingwood s metaphysics can be clarified. Finally, I will dwell on six repercussions of both their views of metaphysics. (shrink)
The Philosophy of R.G. Collingwood W. J. Van Der Dussen. Collingwood's conclusion is that " ... science, even at its best, always falls short of understanding the facts as they really are"88. Only history is able to realize this. It is another ...
Philosophy of history is not a subject which has hitherto attracted much attention in this country. Preoccupation with the methods and achievements of the natural sciences, and distaste for the sort of rationale of history as a whole which Hegel and others offered under the title in the early nineteenth century, have served to make most British philosophers accord its problems only the most casual recognition. It is therefore all the more interesting to find an English writer of unusual powers (...) both of argument and expression, who was himself an historian of distinction in his special field, devoting a large part of his philosophical thinking to the problems of historical knowledge and their wider implications. Unfortunately, R. G. Collingwood was not able to begin the major work on philosophy of history, to writing which, as we are told in the introduction to the present book, he had looked forward for twenty-five years, until his powers were seriously affected by bad health, and he did not live to complete it. But though the full results of his thinking on the subject are lost, we are now able, thanks to the skilful work of his friend Professor T. M. Knox, to study what is in effect an extensive interim report on it. Professor Knox has produced The Idea of History largely on the basis of lectures which Collingwood prepared in 1936, supplemented by two essays already published which date from the same period and a certain amount of material from the unfinished Principles of History written in 1939. (shrink)
This article is a commentary on R.G. Collingwood,d “The So-Called Idea of Causation” invited by the International Journal of Epidemiology. It discusses the relevance of Collingwood's ideas for current conceptions of causation, both in epidemiology and elsewhere. The connection between interventionist treatments of causation and the use of instrumental variables and "Mendelian randomization" is also noted.
The most common view of suicide today is that it is intentional self-killing. 1 Because of the self-killing component, suicide is often described as self-inflicted death or as dying by one's own hand, and the victim is in turn often described as having done himself to death or as having taken his own life. But must one's death be self-inflicted in order to be suicide? The answer, I want to suggest, is arguably no.
In this paper I propose a discussion of R.G. Collingwood's cultural criticism, as a critique of the modern world, referring, beyond social and political institutions, to definite aspects of everyday existence, such as trends in aesthetics and technology, and to the form of rationality that disciplines the general attitudes of men. For this type of criticism, modernity becomes problematic as a 'form of life'. I therefore intend to provide a commentary of certain passages of Collingwood's writings, in order to reconstruct (...) the historical narrative where the genesis and the development of the modern world is represented as a process full of tensions and contradictions, thus allowingme to stress the coexistence of different patterns in cultural criticism. At the same time, I propose to discuss somemethodological and category problems arising from them: principally the explanatory problem about the specific causal relationships that take into account the traits of modern civilization which are the object of criticism, and the normative problem concerning the criteria applied in this criticism. (shrink)
The concept of freedom is one which Hegel thought of very great importance; indeed, he believed that it is the central concept in human history. ‘Mind is free’, he wrote, ‘and to actualise this, its essence – to achieve this excellence – is the endeavour of the worldmind in world-history’ . Those who already have an interest in Hegel will doubtless be interested in his views on a topic which he thought so important; on the other hand, the many philosophers (...) who are either indifferent to or hostile to Hegel may point out that it does not follow that, because the subject of freedom interested Hegel, his views about this subject are of general interest. It will be the aim of this paper to show that they are of general interest; in the meantime, it may be recalled that Isaiah Berlin has argued that Hegel's concept of freedom is one of a type, called by him the concept of positive freedom, which is ‘at the heart of many of the nationalist, communist, authoritarian and totalitarian creeds of our day’. It will surely be worth while to see to what extent this is true of Hegel, and to what extent Hegel's views about freedom are true. (shrink)
Arguments move from premises to conclusions. The premises state things taken temporally for granted; if the argument works, the premises provide grounds for affirming the conclusion. A valid deductive argument is one in which the premises necessitate, that is, entail, the conclusion. What I shall call a ‘correct’ inductive argument is one in which the premises in some degree probabilify the conclusion, but do not necessitate it. More precisely, in what I shall call a correct P -inductive argument the premises (...) make the conclusion probable ; in what I shall call a correct C -inductive argument, the premises add to the probability of the conclusion . Arguments only show their conclusions to be true if they start from true premises; arguments of the above types which work and do start from such premises I will call sound arguments. Arguments are only of use to show to an individual that the conclusion is true if he already knows the premises to be true. Most of what I shall have to say today concerns arguments with respect to which there is no doubt that the premises are true. (shrink)
The object of this paper is to examine what evidence we can have for or against the truth of determinism, a doctrine often set forward by the proposition ‘every event has a cause’. I understand in this context by the cause of an event a set of prior conditions jointly sufficient for the occurrence of the event. Since the determinist is concerned with all physical states and not merely with changes of states, which are most naturally termed events, we may (...) phrase this claim more precisely as follows: There is for every physical state at some earlier instant a set of conditions jointly sufficient for its occurrence. (shrink)
Abstract Is `History Man', Fred Inglis' biography on R.G. Collingwood a successful biography? Inglis' explicit ambition is to portray the concrete figure Collingwood by abducting him from what he calls the vacuum-packed academic world of scholars. But the best biographers look for a balanced equilibrium between rendering philosophical ideas and dramatizing a philosopher's life. Put another way, they evoke the interweaving of a philosopher's thought with the vicissitudes of his life. Despite the unmistakable qualities of this biography, Fred Inglis did (...) not fully succeed in finding that very balance, mainly due to a lack of philosophical background. While Oxford University Press with the new edition of his works and manuscripts is thoroughly reorienting the traditional view of Collingwood, Inglis' fluently written but rather biased portrayal does no full justice to the heart of his fascinating philosophy and personality. (shrink)
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.
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 (...) and history, theory and practice. Collingwood's distinctive contribution to modern political and social thought is seen as his sustained project of distinguishing utility from right, and right from duty; the passion for history coincides with the ethical thought because Collingwood wishes to identify dutiful, or moral, action with a historical civilization. Drawing on a wealth of manuscript material, this book will prove invaluable to political philosophers and intellectual historians. (shrink)