The Later Collingwood on Method: Re-Enactment and Abduction

  • Chinatsu KobayashiEmail author
  • Mathieu Marion
Part of the Philosophers in Depth book series (PID)


In this chapter, Kobayashi and Marion first provide reasons to reject the many readings of Collingwood that sought to draft him as a participant in the Hempel-Dray debate about the status of covering laws in history. After all, this debate was not part of Collingwood’s context and, although one can pry from his writings a contribution to it, one may simply, by doing so, misunderstand what he was up to. In the second part, they present the Gabbay-Woods Schema for abductive reasoning, as it occurs in the context of inquiry, as triggered by an ignorance problem, and as being ‘ignorance preserving’. They then argue that this allows us better to see the point of Collingwood’s ‘logic of questions and answers’, as derived from his own practice in archaeology, and his use of the ‘detective model of the historian’, as opposed to merely focussing on understanding what ‘re-enactment’ could mean as a contribution to the Hempel-Dray debate.


  1. Aliseda, A. 2017. The Logic of Abduction: An Introduction. In Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science, ed. L. Magnani and T. Bertolotti, 219–230. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Campos, D.G. 2011. On the Distinction Between Peirce’s Abduction and Lipton’s Inference to the Best Explanation. Synthese 180: 419–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Collingwood, R.G. 1931. Hadrian’s Wall: 1921–1930. The Journal of Roman Studies 21: 36–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Conan Doyle, A. 2008. Complete Works. Vol. 18. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
  5. Couse, G.S. 1990. Collingwood’s Detective Image of the Historian and the Study of Hadrian’s Wall. History and Theory 29 (4): 57–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. D’Oro, G. 2002. Collingwood and the Metaphysics of Experience. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Donagan, A. 1956. The Verification of Historical Theses. The Philosophical Quarterly 6: 193–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. ———. 1966. The Popper-Hempel Theory Reconsidered. In Philosophical Analysis and History, ed. W.H. Dray, 127–159. New York/London: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  9. Donagan, A., and B. Donagan, eds. 1965. Philosophy of History. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  10. Dray, W.H. 1957a. Laws and Explanation in History. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 1957b. R. G. Collingwood and the Acquaintance Theory of Knowledge. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 11: 420–432.Google Scholar
  12. ———., ed. 1966. Philosophical Analysis and History. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 1995. History as Re-Enactment. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  14. Føllesdal, D. 1979. Hermeneutics and the Hypothetico-Deductive Method. Dialectica 33: 319–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gabbay, D.M., and J. Woods. 2005. The Reach of Abduction. Insight and Trial. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2006. Advice on Abductive Logic. Logic Journal of the IGPL 14 (2): 189–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gadamer, H.-G. 1999. Truth and Method. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  18. Gardiner, P. 1952. The Nature of Historical Explanation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Harman, G.H. 1965. The Inference to the Best Explanation. Philosophical Review 74: 88–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hempel, C.G. 1942. The Function of General Laws in History. Journal of Philosophy 39: 35–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. ———. 1966. Explanation in Science and in History. In Philosophical Analysis and History, ed. W. Dray, 95–126. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  22. Hempel, C.G., and P. Oppenheim. 1948. Studies in the Logic of Explanation. Philosophy of Science 15: 135–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hintikka, J., and J. Bachman. 1991. What If...? Towards Excellence in Reasoning. Mountain View: Mayfield.Google Scholar
  24. Hintikka, M.B., and J. Hintikka. 1982. Sherlock Holmes Confronts Modern Logic: Towards a Theory of Information-Seeking Through Questioning. In Argumentation. Approaches to Theory Formation, ed. E.M. Barth and J.L. Martens, 55–76. Amsterdam: John Benjamins B. V.Google Scholar
  25. Kapitan, T. 1992. Peirce and the Autonomy of Abductive Reasoning. Erkenntnis 37: 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kobayashi, C., and M. Marion. 2011. Gadamer and Collingwood on Temporal Distance and Understanding. History and Theory 50 (December Theme Issue): 81–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kripke, S. 2017. History and Idealism. The Theory of R. G. Collingwood. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies. Incorporating Bradley Studies 23 (1): 9–29.Google Scholar
  28. Lagueux, M. 2010. Rationality and Explanation in Economics. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Levine, J. 2004. The Autonomy of History: R. G. Collingwood and Agatha Christie. In Re-Enacting the Past. Essays on the Evolution of Modern English Historiography, 253–264. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  30. Marion, M. 2018. Le modèle interrogatif de l’enquête de Hintikka, la “logique des questions et réponses” de Collingwood et le raisonnement par abduction. Klesis 39: 245–269.Google Scholar
  31. Mcauliffe, W.H.B. 2015. How Did Abduction Get Confused with Inference to the Best Explanation? Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 51 (3): 300–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Peirce Edition Project, ed. 1998. The Essential Peirce. Selected Philosophical Writings. Vol. 2 (1893–1913). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Ricœur, P. 1984. The Reality of the Historical Past. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Salmon, M.H. 1992. Philosophical Models for Post-Processual Archaeology. In Metaarchaeology. Reflections by Archaeologists and Philosophers, ed. L. Embree, 227–241. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  35. Scriven, M. 1959. Truisms as the Grounds for Historical Explanations. In Theories of History, ed. P. Gardiner, 443–475. New York/London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  36. Stoutland, F. 1970. The Logical Connection Argument. In Studies in the Theory of Knowledge, American Philosophical Quarterly, Monograph Series n. 4, ed. N. Malcolm et al., 117–129. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  37. van der Dussen, J. 1981. History as a Science. The Philosophy of R. G. Collingwood. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. ———. 2007. Collingwood’s Claim that History Is a Science. In Collingwood and British Idealism Studies, vol. 13/2, 5–30; Reprinted in J. van der Dussen, Studies on Collingwood, History and Civilisation, 137–152. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  39. Walsh, W.H. 1967. An Introduction to Philosophy of History. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  40. Woods, J. 2013. Errors of Reasoning. Naturalizing the Logic of Inference. London: College Publications.Google Scholar
  41. Zilsel, E. 1941. Physics and the Problem of Historico-Sociological Laws. Philosophy of Science 8: 567–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations