History and Nature In Collingwood’s Dialectic

Idealistic Studies 6 (1):49-61 (1976)
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Metaphysics, for Collingwood, is an historical science. Accordingly, nature and the science of nature did not occupy a prominent position within his general scheme. To appreciate this fact and to consider how this deficiency might be overcome requires that we first attend to the disconnected nature of the doctrines that loosely comprise that scheme. More specifically, we must examine the problematical relationship between Collingwood’s familiar theory of presuppositions and his less frequently discussed doctrine of the scale of forms presented in An Essay on Philosophical Method. This latter task will serve as a focus both for an analysis of the general difficulties that beset Collingwood’s particular formulation of a dialectical method, as well as for an exploration of a possible resolution of these difficulties —a resolution along lines which, admittedly, Collingwood himself did not explicitly follow. A few general comments on the tension between dialectical and idealist elements in his metaphysics will conclude the discussion.



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