Introduction: The Armchair and the Pickaxe

  • Karim DharamsiEmail author
  • Giuseppina D’Oro
  • Stephen Leach
Part of the Philosophers in Depth book series (PID)


Is philosophy continuous with science or does it have a distinctive domain of inquiry that differs from that of the special sciences? Collingwood claimed that philosophy has a distinctive subject matter and a distinctive method. Its distinctive subject matter is what he called the “absolute presuppositions” that govern the special sciences and its method consists in making these presuppositions explicit by showing that they are entailed by the questions asked in the special sciences. In this chapter the editors seek to provide a guide to the diverging interpretations of Collingwood’s claim that metaphysics is not the study of pure being but of the presuppositions that govern knowledge of reality. They argue that a reassessment of his contribution to philosophical methodology is timely in the light of the recent revival of interest in second-order questions concerning the role and character of philosophical analysis.


  1. Chalmers, D., D. Manley, and R. Wasserman, eds. 2009. Metametaphysics. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Collini, S., and B. Williams. 2004. R.G. Collingwood. In The Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Connelly, J. 1990. Metaphysics and Method: A Necessary Unity in the Philosophy of R. G. Collingwood. Storia, Antropologia e Scienze del Linguaggio 5 (1–2): 36–156.Google Scholar
  4. D’Oro, G. 2002. Collingwood and the Metaphysics of Experience. London/New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. D’Oro, G., and C. Connelly, eds. 2016. Collingwood and Philosophical Methodology. Special Issue of Collingwood and British Idealism Studies.Google Scholar
  6. D’Oro, G., and S. Overgaard, eds. 2017. The Cambridge Companion to Philosophical Methodology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Donagan, A. 1962. The Later Philosophy of R. G. Collingwood. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  8. Haug, M.C., ed. 2013. Philosophical Methodology: the Armchair or the Laboratory? Abingdon/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Jackson, F. 1998. From Metaphysics to Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Overgaard, S., P. Gilbert, and S. Burwood. 2013. An Introduction to Metaphilosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Rotenstreich, N. 1972. Metaphysics and Historicism. In Critical Essays on the Philosophy of R. G. Collingwood, ed. M. Krausz, 179–200. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  12. Toulmin, S. 1972. Conceptual Change and the Problem of Relativity. In Critical Essays on the Philosophy of R. G. Collingwood, ed. M. Krausz, 201–221. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  13. Williamson, T. 2007. The Philosophy of Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karim Dharamsi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Giuseppina D’Oro
    • 2
  • Stephen Leach
    • 2
  1. 1.Mount Royal UniversityCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.School of Politics, IR and PhilosophyKeele UniversityStaffordshireUK

Personalised recommendations