Collingwood and Russell on Philosophical Method

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Timothy C. LordHeartland College

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Collingwood’s An Essay on Philosophical Method provides an insightful critique of Russell’s analysis and metaphysics of logical atomism, proposing an unduly neglected neo-idealist alternative to Russell’s philosophical method. I summarize Collingwood’s critique of analysis and sympathetically outline the philosophical methodology of Collingwood’s post-Hegelian dialectical method: his scale of forms methodology, grounded on the overlap of philosophical classes. I then delineate Collingwood’s critique of the metaphysics of logical atomism, demonstrating how the scale of forms methodology is opposed to Russell’s logical atomism. Finally, I reflect on the reasons Collingwood’s Essay aroused little interest upon publication and the importance of continually rethinking the history of philosophy.

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