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5 Collingwood’s Logic of Question and Answer against the Relativization of Reason

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Chapter Summary

This chapter outlines the reasoning behind R.G. Collingwood's critique of his contemporary logicians, comprising some of what he says explicitly about it, and much of what he does not. There are also certain warnings in Collingwood's philosophy concerning what is lost by what one might call the retrospective relativizing of reason, and these warnings have implications which met with rather more hostility today. The chapter explains what those warnings are, and offers reasons for thinking those implications might be worth paying attention to. The implications for historians of philosophy and historians of political theory have been abundantly discussed since the mid-twentieth century. Collingwood offers an outline of his own logic of question and answer. The effect of Collingwood's "revolt" against the "conspiracy" of modern logicians is that it rectifies the oddities he identifies in the "realist" theory of knowledge.

Keywords: formal logic; political theory; R.G. Collingwood's philosophy; realist theory of knowledge



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