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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this now out of date?, 30 Jun 2010
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This review is from: The Principles of History: And Other Writings in Philosophy of History (Paperback)
I have been meaning to read this for many years. It seemed to crop up everywhere and I presumed it was a standard work. As I understand it, it was written in a hurry - under the shadow of death - and was meant to be Collingwood's Magnum Opus. I don't doubt the sincerity of the enterprise, nor the weight of scholarship behind it. I can see why people might want to make a detailed study of it. I think I can safely say there is food for thought on every page - but most of the thought is, where does he get this from? He has a very strong tendency to rant, he tends to caricature opposing views (straw men abound), and seems to have no feeling of obligation to explain his more tendentious statements (He is happy to say, it just is so, if you know anything about history). I guess it derives in some way from his Hegelian (I think) background, but this is nowhere detailed (indeed, sometimes he seems to be squashing this idea). I think I am persuaded by his suggestion that history is an autonomous discipline, and that this has something to do with its forms of argumentation, but I am not really sure what he means by evidence or how his forms of reasoning on such "evidence" can be distinguished from mere discursiveness. More importantly, I guess history since his time has gone awry (in his terms) in almost every dimension. Still, it can be an enjoyable read for an hour or so, until the ranting and schematic argumentation get a bit tedious
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