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Collingwood on the Relationship Between Metaphysics and History

  • Jan van der Dussen
Chapter
Part of the Philosophers in Depth book series (PID)

Abstract

Collingwood’s earlier ‘Function of Metaphysics in Civilization’ informs Van der Dussen’s reading of the better-known An Essay on Metaphysics. Van der Dussen claims that the latter does not so much argue for as assume that metaphysics is a historical discipline. Sympathetic, Van der Dussen argues that the metaphysician uncovers presuppositions, but it is the task of the special sciences to change them. It is only in relation to other metaphysicians that the Collingwoodian metaphysician can assume a critical role as opposed to a purely descriptive role. In the absence of such disputation, the Collingwoodian metaphysician works essentially as a historian. While Van der Dussen claims that Collingwood’s central argument in An Essay on Metaphysics is that metaphysics is a historical science, the book’s philosophical position is captured in only the first four chapters. As such the book itself exemplifies what Collingwood advocated in his Autobiography, the rapprochement of philosophy and history.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan van der Dussen
    • 1
  1. 1.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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