Review of Metaphysics 69 (2):317-346 (2015)

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 basic presuppositions in their historical transformations. That difference has been noted, but never really examined. Moreover, the majority of Collingwood scholars see no reason why his historical study of basic presuppositions should usurp the name of metaphysics and, therefore, reject the term as an unfortunately chosen one. The main purpose of this essay is to explain why Collingwood’s term “metaphysics” is not so idiosyncratic as it is supposed to be and in what sense his metaphysics differs from Wittgenstein’s approach
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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