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Summary

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 2000). 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 (1940) 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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672 found
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1 — 50 / 672
  1. Collingwood's Hermneutic of Acts and Events in Historical Explanation.Doug Mann - unknown - Eidos: The Canadian Graduate Journal of Philosophy 11.
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  2. The Leopard Does Not Change its Spots: Naturalism and the Argument Against Methodological Pluralism in the Sciences.Jonas Ahlskog & Giuseppina D'Oro - forthcoming - In Adam Tuboli & Ákos Sivadó (eds.), The History of Understanding in Analytic Philosophy: Before and After Logical Empiricism. pp. 185-208.
    This paper sets out to undermine the view that a commitment to the early modern conception of the mind as immortalized in Ryle’s metaphor of the (Cartesian) ghost in the machine and in Quine’s metaphor of the (Lockean) myth of the museum is required to articulate a defence of the sui generis character of humanistic explanations. These powerful metaphors have not only contributed to undermining the claim for methodological pluralism by caricaturizing the arguments for disunity in the sciences; they have (...)
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  3. Teorias da Arte” in Crítica.Rg Collingwood - forthcoming - Revista de filosofía (Chile).
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  4. Croce's Aesthetics.Gary Kemp - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  5. Wittgenstein, Collingwood, and the Aesthetic and Ethical Conundrum of Opera.Yaroslav Senyshyn & Danielle Vézina - forthcoming - Philosophy of Music Education Review 10 (1):27-35.
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  6. La Théorie Des Présuppositions Absolues Chez R. G. Collingwood.Suzanne Stern-Gillet - forthcoming - Les Etudes Philosophiques.
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  7. A Few Critical Remarks on Collingwood's Philosophy of Art.G. Rinaldi - 2021 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 27 (1):49-74.
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  8. R.G. Collingwood and Imperfect Rationality.R. Toueg - 2021 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 27 (1):123-131.
  9. Collingwood and Racial Considerations.S. K. Wertz - 2021 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 27 (1):99-115.
  10. Robin George Collingwood.Giuseppina D'Oro & James Connelly - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  11. The Fashionable Scientific Fraud: Collingwood’s Critique of Psychometrics.Joel Michell - 2020 - History of the Human Sciences 33 (2):3-21.
    In his review of Charles Spearman’s The Nature of ‘Intelligence’, R. G. Collingwood launched an attack upon psychometrics that was expanded in his Essay on Metaphysics. Although underrated by friend and foe alike, Collingwood’s critique identified a number of defects in the thinking of psychometricians that subsequently became entrenched. However, his main complaint was that psychology generally was a ‘fashionable scientific fraud’. This charge was inspired by his more general views on logic and metaphysics, which, however, as I argue, are (...)
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  12. History Against Psychology in the Thought of R. G. Collingwood.Guive Assadi - 2019 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 31 (2):135-159.
    ABSTRACTR. G. Collingwood is mostly remembered for his theory that historical understanding consists in re-enacting the thoughts of the historical figure whom one is studying. His first recognizable expression of this view followed from an argument about the emptiness of psychological interpretations of religion, and throughout his career Collingwood offered history as re-enactment as an alternative to psychology. Over time, his argument that the psychology of religion could not be relevant to the veracity of religious beliefs was supplanted by the (...)
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  13. Collingwood on Philosophical Methodology. Edited by Karim Dharamsi, Giuseppina D’Oro, and Stephen Leach. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Pp. Xiii + 270. [REVIEW]James Camien McGuiggan - 2019 - Metaphilosophy 50 (5):747-751.
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  14. The Philosophy of History of the British Idealists: Preliminary Observations.J. Karabelas - 2018 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 24 (1):71-89.
    British idealism is usually regarded as having been, in the main, indifferent to the problems of the philosophy of history. The interest in the philosophy of history found in German, and later in Italian, idealism was allegedly not shared by the early generations of the British idealists. At best they are regarded as unwitting precursors of things to come, some of their reflections paving the way for subsequent advances in historical thinking. The British idealists, however, were not as economical with (...)
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  15. Collingwood, Pragmatism, and Philosophy of Science.Elena Popa - 2018 - In Karim Dharamsi, Giuseppina D’Oro & Stephen Leach (eds.), Collingwood on Philosophical Methodology. Springer Verlag. pp. 131-149.
    This paper argues that there are notable similarities between Collingwood’s method of investigating absolute presuppositions and contemporary strands of pragmatism, focusing on two areas - the critique of realism and causation. It is first argued that there are methodological similarities between Collingwood’s argument against realism and his Kantian-inspired critique of metaphysics, and Putnam’s critique of externalism. Regarding causation, it is argued that Collingwood’s view and Price’s pragmatist approach have a common method – investigating causation in the context of specific human (...)
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  16. Prefatory Note to Saul Kripke, “History and Idealism: The Theory of R.G. Collingwood”.James Connelly & Giuseppina D'Oro - 2017 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 23 (1):1-8.
  17. Collingwood, Scientism and Historicism.Giuseppina D'Oro & James Connelly - 2017 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 11:275-288.
  18. History and Idealism: The Theory of R.G. Collingwood.Saul A. Kripke - 2017 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 23 (1):9-29.
  19. History as Thought and Action: The Philosophies of Croce, Gentile, de Ruggiero and Collingwood by Rik Peters.David Boucher - 2016 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (3):514-515.
    This is a book about the personal and philosophical relationships between three Italian philosophers and their intersection with the life and thought of the English polymath R. G. Collingwood. It is well known that many of the most controversial ideas of the Italians were developed in direct engagement with each other through published encounters and private correspondence. The connection between Collingwood and the Italians, although vaguely familiar to English and Italian readers, is far less well known in its details, perhaps (...)
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  20. What is the Business of Collingwood's The Principles of Art?J. C. McGuiggan - 2016 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 22 (1):195-223.
    Collingwood’s aim in The Principles of Art is “to answer the question: What is art?” (p. 1) The answer Collingwood offers to that question, that art is the expression of emotion, has become notorious for its implausibility. I consider one objection against this theory, namely that it is unclear what is rendered art by this definition: for it sometimes appears to define art too broadly, containing all utterances and gestures; but at other times to define art too narrowly, excluding much (...)
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  21. Collingwood and Manipulability-Based Approaches to Causation: Methodological Issues.E. Popa - 2016 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 22 (1):139-166.
    This paper discusses methodological similarities between Collingwood's approach to causation and contemporary manipulability-based views. Firstly, I argue that on both approaches there is a preoccupation with the origin of causal concepts which further connects to the aim of establishing the priority of a certain concept/sense of causation as more fundamental. The significant difference lies in Collingwood's focus on the logical and historical priority (Collingwood's sense I) while in more recent theories the focus has been on psychology (i.e., on different philosophical (...)
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  22. Historical Thinking in Clinical Medicine: Lessons From R.G. Collingwood's Philosophy of History.Benjamin H. Chin-Yee & Ross E. G. Upshur - 2015 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 21 (3):448-454.
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  23. Collingwood and ‘Art Proper’: From Idealism to Consistency.Damla Dönmez - 2015 - Estetika 52 (2):152-163.
    Collingwood’s ‘art-proper’ definition has been controversial. Wollheim argues that his Theory of Imagination assumes that the nature of the artwork exists solely in the mind, committing him to the Ideal Theory. Consequently, when Collingwood states that the audience is essential for the artist and the artwork, he is being inconsistent. In contrast, Ridley claims that Collingwood’s Expression Theory saves him from Wollheim’s accusations; hence he is consistent and does not support the Ideal Theory. I demonstrate that Collingwood both adheres to (...)
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  24. Collingwood's Reform of Metaphysics.D. Ilodigwe - 2015 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 21 (1):25-61.
    Collingwood wrote at a time when positivism was the dominant philosophical influence in British philosophy. Central to Collingwood's philosophical project was the task of rehabilitation of metaphysics against the backdrop of the positivistic deconstruction of metaphysics. Collingwood's defence of metaphysics is much nuanced in the sense that while Collingwood does not sympathize with the grandiose conception of metaphysics associated with traditional metaphysics he is nonetheless keen to argue for the possibility of metaphysics in some form by reconceptualising metaphysics as a (...)
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  25. Does “I Know” Tolerate Metaphysical Emphasis?Guido Vanheeswijck - 2015 - Review of Metaphysics 69 (2):317-346.
    A number of articles have highlighted the resemblances between Collingwood’s and Wittgenstein’s positions in the domains of philosophy of language, anthropology, and logic. The introduction of this essay recalls some aspects of these resem­blan­ces. However, the main difference between the two philosophers con­sists in their attitudes toward metap­hysics. Whereas Wittgenstein’s thesis in On Certainty is that “I know” does not tolerate metaphysical emphasis, Collingwood claims in An Essay on Metaphysics that it is the specific task of metaphysics to articulate our (...)
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  26. Collingwood on Religious Atonement.Dale Jacquette - 2014 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 76 (2):151-170.
    R. G. Collingwood’s philosophical analysis of religious atonement as a dialectical process of mortal repentance and divine forgiveness is explained and criticized. Collingwood’s Christian concept of atonement, in which Christ \ the Atonement the Incarnation), is subject in turn to another kind of dialectic, in which some of Collingwood’s leading ideas are first surveyed, and then tested against objections in a philosophical evaluation of their virtues and defects, strengths and weaknesses. Collingwood’s efforts to synthesize objective and subjective aspects of atonement, (...)
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  27. Challenging Formal Logic—Collingwood's Theory of Philosophical Concept.Weimin Shi - 2014 - Philosophical Forum 45 (3):285-301.
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  28. Collingwood's "Reformed Metaphysics" and the Radical Conversion Hypothesis.Guido Vanheeswijck - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (3):577-600.
    when r. g. collingwood began to write his autobiography in 1938, he was only 49 years old, still very young for drawing up a final balance. Only three years earlier, he had been appointed to the prestigious Waynflete Chair of Metaphysical Philosophy in Oxford. By then, Collingwood was already severely ill and he knew that he only had a few more years to live. Therefore, he did not only present his past evolution in his autobiography; his attention rather went to (...)
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  29. Introduction: Kant and the British Idealists.Sorin Baiasu - 2013 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 19 (1):1-18.
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  30. R. G. Collingwood: An Autobiography and Other Writings: With Essays on Collingwood's Life and Work.David Boucher & Teresa Smith (eds.) - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    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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  31. Rethinking Collingwood's Hegel.Gary Browning - 2013 - In Lisa Herzog (ed.), Hegel's Thought in Europe: Currents, Crosscurrents and Undercurrents. pp. 177.
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  32. Understanding Others: Cultural Anthropology with Collingwood and Quine.Guiseppina D’Oro - 2013 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 7 (3):326-345.
    On one meaning of the term “historicism” to be a historicist is to be committed to the claim that the human sciences have a methodology of their own that is distinct in kind and not only in degree from that of the natural sciences. In this sense of the term Collingwood certainly was a historicist, for he defended the view that history is an autonomous discipline with a distinctive method and subject matter against the claim for methodological unity in the (...)
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  33. The Question-and-Answer Logic of Historical Context.Christopher Fear - 2013 - History of the Human Sciences 26 (3):68-81.
    Quentin Skinner has enduringly insisted that a past text cannot be ‘understood’ without the reader knowing something about its historical and linguistic context. But since the 1970s he has been attacked on this central point of all his work by authors maintaining that the text itself is the fundamental guide to the author’s intention, and that a separate study of the context cannot tell the historian anything that the text itself could not. Mark Bevir has spent much of the last (...)
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  34. Kant and Collingwood on the Mind-Body Problem.Katie Harrington - 2013 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 19 (1):95-111.
    In this paper, I explore both Kant's and Collingwood's accounts of themind-body problem. I discuss how both philosophers think that this problem arises and how it can be resolved. I start by discussing the similarities between the attempts of the two philosophers at solving philosophical problems through analysing the conceptual structures that make experience possible. I then turn to the differences between the views of the two philosophers, paying particular attention to Kant's claims that a combination of a natural (so-called (...)
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  35. The Logical Priority of the Question: R. G. Collingwood, Philosophical Hermeneutics and Enquiry-Based Learning.David Aldridge - 2012 - 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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  36. The Conscious and the Unconscious in History:Lévi-Strauss, Collingwood, Bally, Barthes.Thorsten Botz-Bornstein - 2012 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (2):151-172.
    Claude Lévi-Strauss holds that history and anthropology differ in their choice of complementary perspectives: history organizes its data in relation to conscious expressions of social life, while anthropology proceeds by examining its unconscious foundations. For R. G. Collingwood historical science discovers not only pure facts but considers a whole series of thoughts constituting historical life. Also Lévi-Strauss sees this: “To understand history it is necessary to know not only how things are, but how they have come to be.” However, Lévi-Strauss (...)
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  37. Between the Old Metaphysics and the New Empiricism: Collingwood's Defence of the Autonomy of Philosophy.Giuseppina D'Oro - 2012 - Ratio 25 (1):34-50.
    Collingwood has failed to make a significant impact in the history of twentieth century philosophy either because he has been dismissed as a dusty old idealist committed to the very metaphysics the analytical school was trying to leave behind, or because his later work has been interpreted as advocating the dissolution of philosophy into history. I argue that Collingwood's key philosophical works are a sustained attempt to defend the view that philosophy is an autonomous discipline with a distinctive domain of (...)
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  38. Collingwoods Reading of Spinozas Psychology.Alexander Douglas - 2012 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 18 (1):65-80.
    Near the end of his Ethics, Spinoza develops a theory that '[a]n affect which is a passion ceases to be a passion as soon as we form a clear and distinct idea of it.' Recent commentators have found this theory to be radically implausible in light of some of Spinoza's other metaphysical and epistemological commitments. I defend Spinoza on this point. Having done so, I examine R.G. Collingwood's reading of the theory, presented in The Principles of Art. Collingwood's reading proposes (...)
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  39. Collingwood on Philosophical Literary Language.Niklas Forsberg - 2012 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 18 (1):31-64.
    Focusing on the penultimate chapter of Collingwood's An Essay on Philosophical Method, this paper offers a re-evaluation of several points in leading interpretations of his philosophy. It is argued that this chapter, 'Philosophy as a Branch of Literature', invites us to rethink the relation between a systematic or problem-oriented and an historical or exegetical philosophy; how linguistic analysis (particularly in the form of ordinary language philosophy) relates to the history of philosophy; and how the question of literature in philosophy is (...)
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  40. Collingwood’s Opposition to Biography.Vasso Kindi - 2012 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (1):44-59.
    Abstract Biography is usually distinguished from history and, in comparison, looked down upon. R. G. Collingwood's view of biography seems to fit this statement considering that he says it has only gossip-value and that “history it can never be“. His main concern is that biography exploits and arouses emotions which he excludes from the domain of history. In the paper I will try to show that one can salvage a more positive view of biography from within Collingwood's work and claim (...)
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  41. Collingwood Corner.Stephen Leach - 2012 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 18 (1):81-99.
    'Roman England': R.G. Collingwood's Correspondence with Harold Bruff, compiled and introduced by Stephen Leach.
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  42. Idealism and the Ontological Argument.William J. Mander - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (5):993-1014.
    The ontological proof became something of a signature argument for the British Idealist movement and this paper examines how and why that was so. Beginning with an account of Hegel's understanding of the argument, it looks at how the thesis was picked up, developed and criticized by the Cairds, Bradley, Pringle-Pattison and others. The importance of Bradley's reading in particular is stressed. Lastly, consideration is given to Collingwood's lifelong interest in the proof and it is argued that his attention is (...)
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  43. Experiencia y lenguaje en Dilthey y Collingwood. Autobiografía intelectual y pretensión de verdad de la ciencia histórica.Núria Sara Miras Boronat - 2012 - Endoxa 29:113-131.
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  44. ‘History Man’. The First Biography on R.G. Collingwood.Guido Vanheeswijck - 2012 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (1):134-142.
    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 (...)
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  45. Oakeshott’s Wise Defense: Christianity as A Civilization.Corey Abel - 2011 - In The Meanings of Michael Oakeshott's Christianity.
    This paper for the first time reveals Oakeshott' early interest in writing a work of Christian apology. This "apology" was conceived in accordance with Oakeshott's religious modernism. Since Oakeshott never completed a formal apology, the author explores some early essays in which parts of the apologetic project are reflected, and then goes on to race the religious themes present in many of Oakeshott's published work. In conclusion, it is suggested that Oakeshott maybe understood as offering a concept of civilization that (...)
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  46. British Idealism.Thom Brooks - 2011 - 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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  47. Specular Phenomenology: Art and Art Criticism.Red Clementina - 2011 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 17 (2):248-260.
    This paper explores the dialogue between Collingwood and Guido de Ruggiero on art and art criticism. The sense of identity of these two activities, it will be argued, can be understood only if one considers the criticism of living art: The art of one who also creates, who through a critical process transforms an outline into a work of art. Thus understood a work of art belongs to the life of the spirit, if considered from the dimension of becoming. Only (...)
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  48. Re-Enacting in the Second Person.Karim Dharamsi - 2011 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 5 (2):163-178.
    R. G. Collingwood's theory of re-enactment has long been understood as an important contribution to the philosophy of history. It has also been challenging to understand how re-enactment is operationalized in the practice of understanding past actors or, indeed, other minds occupying less remote regions of our experiences. Sebastian Rödl has recently articulated a compelling defence of second person ascription, arguing that it is, in form, analogous to first person understanding. By Rödl's lights, second person understanding follows the same order (...)
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  49. Art as the Expression of Emotion in the Language of Imagination: Dickie's Misunderstandings of Collingwood's Aesthetics.José Juan González - 2011 - Art, Emotion and Value. Proceedings of the 5th Mediterranean Congress of Aesthetics. Cartagena (Spain), 4th-8th July 2011:175-184.
    It is a common statement in the most traditional views of the history of the philosophy of art to consider the nineteenth century as the moment of birth of the expressionist theory of art, a theory that ended pushing aside the already declining imitation theory of art. It is also usually understood that the expressionist theory defended that the essence of art was to express emotion, that the artist aim was to translate somehow emotions into artworks, and that these emotions (...)
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  50. Afterword to Die Idee der Natur, the German Translation of The Idea of Nature.Alex Honneth & T. Greaves - 2011 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 17 (2):261-282.
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