R. G. Collingwood's An essay on philosophical method PDF

By R. G. Collingwood

2014 Reprint of 1933 version. designated facsimile of the unique version, no longer reproduced with Optical reputation software program. R. G. Collingwood (1889-1943) used to be a British thinker and practising archaeologist top recognized for his paintings in aesthetics and the philosophy of heritage. Collingwood is the writer of 1 of crucial treatises in meta-philosophy written within the first half the 20 th century, "An Essay on Philosophical technique" (1933), that is a sustained try to clarify why philosophy is an independent self-discipline with a particular approach and subject material that fluctuate from these of the usual and the precise sciences.

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For these elements will be specifications of a single concept, and therefore there will be logical relations between them; to represent the fact as a mere aggregate of elements coexisting without any such logical bonds will be to leave an essential part of the analytic work undone. In an empirical co'ncept like man, there is no apparent connexion between such elements as having ten toes and having the power of speech; but in a philosophical concept there cannot be this looseness of structure, 52 THE OVERLAP OF CLASSES and the various elements must be somehow interrelated.

If all instances of a generic concep t had one and the same attr ibu te in varying degrees, and if the genus were divided int o species according to these variations, there could be no ove rlap ; for the poi nt at which any on e specific class beg an would be the poi nt at which ano the r ended. Exa mples are the classification of books for a libraria n's pur pos e by size, and the classification of me n by age for military servIce. It seems in fact to be generally adm itted tha t no philosophical importance attaches to mere differ- THE SCALE OF FORMS 55 ences of degree.

This method of investigation is often followed. One philosopher, discussing the theory of perception and distinguishing veridical perception from illusion, will rule out of consideration all instances in which a perception seems tainted with the character of illusion, and will endeavour to study instances of purely and simply veridical perception. Another, studying the generic concept of goods and its specific form, that of things good in themselves, will propose as a 48 THE OVERLAP OF CLASSES method the question whether this or that thingwouId be good if nothing else existed) as if things good in themselves formed a separate class of goods) which would remain when everything possessed of a merely relative goodness had been thrown aside.

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