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 sciences. On another interpretation historicism is a relativist way of thinking which denies the possibility of universal and fundamental interpretations of historical or cultural phenomena. In the following I argue that at least in this second sense of “historicism” Collingwood was everything but a historicist. Quine, on the contrary, was nothing but a historicist. The goal of the comparison, however, is not to establish just who, on this definition, was or was not a historicist, but to draw a few conclusions about what a commitment to or rejection of historicism in this sense, tells us about the nature of understanding
Keywords Re-enactment   radical translation   Collingwood   Quine   historicism
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DOI 10.1163/18722636-12341256
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Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
Epistemology Naturalized.W. V. Quine - 1969 - In Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. New York: Columbia University Press.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. V. Quine - 1951 - In Robert B. Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (eds.), The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through the Present. Princeton University Press. pp. 202-220.
Indeterminacy of Translation.Alan Weir - 2006 - In Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press.

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