The Idea of History

By R. G. Collingwood; J. Van Der Dussen | Go to book overview

PREFACE

The Idea of History is undoubtedly Collingwood best-known book. From its appearance in 1946 it has aroused much attention, and in the subsequent discussions on the philosophy of history, as they have developed since the Second World War, it has in fact never failed to play a crucial role. One could even say that is appearance has been a major factor in the revival of the interest in the philosophy of history, a subject formerly usually associated with German philosophers around the turn of the century like Dilthey, Windelband, and Rickert. The many reprints and translations of The Idea of History are another indication of its permanent influence.

In this revised edition of The Idea of History the original text remains intact. To this has been added, however, new material from Collingwood unpublished manuscripts, which have only recently become available. In this way it will be possible to study Collingwood views on the philosophy of history within the context of his main work on the subject.

The original edition of The Idea of History had been edited posthumously by his pupil T. M. Knox. The latter added to it a preface in which Collingwood philosophy of history was put into the wider context of his philosophical views and their development. Subsequent research on Collingwood philosophy, however, has brought out some important inadequacies of the interpretations given by Knox in his preface. A new introduction was therefore needed, taking into account the research on Collingwood philosophy of history as it has developed during the subsequent decades.

In this new introduction I explain how the publication of The Idea of History has taken shape and also assess the way the book was edited by Knox. This is followed by a short exposition of the reception of The Idea of History. Since for a proper assessment of Collingwood philosophy of history it is necessary to put it into an appropriate context, the development of his ideas on the subject must be considered. In this connection I have also made an attempt to assess the nature of the newly added manuscripts of 1926, 1927, and 1928.

The new and somewhat lengthy introduction to this revised

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The Idea of History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Editor's Introduction ix
  • Contents li
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I Greco-Roman Historiography 14
  • Part II the Influence of Christianity 46
  • Part III the Threshold of Scientific History 86
  • Part IV Scientific History 134
  • Part V Epilegomena 205
  • Preliminary Discussion the Idea of A Philosophy of Something, And, in Particular, A Philosophy of History (1927) 335
  • Lectures on the Philosophy of History (1926)1 359
  • Contents 360
  • Outlines of A Philosophy of History (1928) 426
  • Introductory Lecture 431
  • Contents 437
  • Iii. Relation 439
  • Index 497
  • More Oxford Paperbacks 511
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