Collingwood and the Metaphysics of Experience

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9

Collingwood’s philosophy of mind and action

In the following I wish to discuss two claims that I believe are crucial to Collingwood’s philosophy of mind and action. The first is that the relationship between the mind and the body is not a relationship between two substances but a relationship between two sciences, the science of mind and the science of matter. The second is that the so-called problem of mind-body interaction is a pseudo-problem that arises out of a failure to understand the aforementioned relationship. As Collingwood puts it, the relation between the mind and the body

is the relation between the sciences of the body, or natural sciences, and the sciences of the mind; that is the relation inquiry into which ought to be substituted for the make-believe inquiry into the make-believe problem of ‘the relation between body and mind’.

(The New Leviathan (NL), 2.49/11)

The chapter is divided in three sections. In the first I outline the main lines of Collingwood’s philosophy of mind. In the second I explain why Collingwood’s philosophy of mind commits him to a non-causal perspective in the philosophy of action and argue that Collingwood’s model of explanation for action is the logical implication of his account of the mind. In the third section I attempt to locate Collingwood’s philosophy of mind in relation to eliminativism, reductionism and ontological dualism. My argument consists of three claims. The first is that Collingwood resists the pressures of both eliminativism and reductionism. The second is that Collingwood’s alternative to eliminativism and reductionism is premised not on the endorsement of a Cartesian notion of metaphysics with its dual ontology but on a Kantian notion of metaphysics as a form of categorial analysis. The third is that Collingwood’s non-reductionist strategy also differs from that adopted by those physicalists who defend a form of property dualism premised on the idea that mental properties supervene on physical properties. Collingwood’s non-reductionist strategy, unlike that of supervenience theorists, is based not on a dualism of properties but on a dualism of epistemological perspectives. Hence, whereas Collingwood is

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