Modernity and its Discontents: R.G. Collingwoods Cultural Criticism and Its Problems

Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 17 (2):226-245 (2011)
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Abstract

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

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