A central motif of R. G. Collingwood's philosophy of history is the idea that historical understanding requires a re-enactment of past experience. However, there have been sharp disagreements about the acceptability of this idea, and even its meaning. This book aims to advance the critical discussion in three ways: by analysing the idea itself further, concentrating especially on the contrast which Collingwood drew between it and scientific understanding; by exploring the limits of its applicability to what historians ordinarily consider their (...) proper subject-matter; and by clarifying the relationship between it and some other key Collingwoodian ideas, such as the place of imagination in historical inquiry, the sense in which history deals with the individual, the essential perspectivity of historical judgement, and the importance of narrative and periodization in historical thinking. Professor Dray defends Collingwood against a good deal of recent criticism, while pointing to ways in which his position requires revision or development. History as Re-enactment draws upon a wide range of Collingwood's published writings, and makes considerable use of his unpublished manuscripts. It is the most systematic study yet of this central doctrine of Collingwood's philosophy of history, and will stand as a landmark in Collingwood studies. 'For many years William Dray has been working at the task of retrieving Collingwood for contemporary philosophy.... It is something of an event then to have this new work, the culmination of a lifetime of thought, appear in his retirement. As one would expect, it is a deeply considered book, lucidly written, and scrupulously fair to all parties... a sound and serious philosophical commentary... anyone interested in either Collingwood or the philosophy of history should consider joining the dialogue and will learn much in the process.' Canadian Journal of History. (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.
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)
During the British socialist revival of the 1880s competing theories of evolution were central to disagreements about strategy for social change. In News from Nowhere (1891), William Morris had portrayed socialism as the result of Lamarckian processes, and imagined a non-Malthusian future. H.G. Wells, an enthusiastic admirer of Morris in the early days of the movement, became disillusioned as a result of the Malthusianism he learnt from Huxley and his subsequent rejection of Lamarckism in light of Weismann's experiments on (...) mice. This brought him into conflict with his fellow Fabian, George Bernard Shaw, who rejected neo-Darwinism in favour of a Lamarckian conception of change he called "creative evolution.". (shrink)