Collingwood's Idea of History & Speculum Mentis

Jones

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Re: Collingwood's Idea of History, Speculum Mentis & Gurdjieff's Primitive Cosmology

Corvinus said:
Yas,
When it comes to human nature and his view that it is changing I would disagree, human nature is not changing, human perceptions, desires, thinking and technological knowledge is progressing, but alas only in certain spheres and in limited amount. Human nature was and is still entropic and the rules are more or less the same as prior to 1000 years ago, just there are gloves today.
Yes, Collingwood makes a distinction between progress and development. A change if it brings as many downsides as it does upsides then the net effect is zero - that would be a development. Progress happens when there are more upsides than downsides.
 

Laura

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Re: Collingwood's Idea of History, Speculum Mentis & Gurdjieff's Primitive Cosmology

Jones said:
Corvinus said:
Yas,
When it comes to human nature and his view that it is changing I would disagree, human nature is not changing, human perceptions, desires, thinking and technological knowledge is progressing, but alas only in certain spheres and in limited amount. Human nature was and is still entropic and the rules are more or less the same as prior to 1000 years ago, just there are gloves today.
Yes, Collingwood makes a distinction between progress and development. A change if it brings as many downsides as it does upsides then the net effect is zero - that would be a development. Progress happens when there are more upsides than downsides.
The book that follows on from the work of Collingwood, and takes us to the corrective (and small corrective is needed!) is Carr's "What is History?" https://www.amazon.com/What-History-Penguin-H-Carr/dp/0140135847/ref=sr_1_2 It's a small book, just 200 pages incl references and index, and a clear read. It was written in the 60s, I believe, and thus, the language is more modern and easy. Collingwood says that history cannot be used to predict the future and, in one sense, he is right: it's never an exact repeat. But Carr disagrees and says that generalities can be made that are very helpful in predicting probabilities. But, as we know, probabilities are not certainties.
 

will01

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Re: Collingwood's Idea of History, Speculum Mentis & Gurdjieff's Primitive Cosmology

Laura said:
Jones said:
Corvinus said:
Yas,
When it comes to human nature and his view that it is changing I would disagree, human nature is not changing, human perceptions, desires, thinking and technological knowledge is progressing, but alas only in certain spheres and in limited amount. Human nature was and is still entropic and the rules are more or less the same as prior to 1000 years ago, just there are gloves today.
Yes, Collingwood makes a distinction between progress and development. A change if it brings as many downsides as it does upsides then the net effect is zero - that would be a development. Progress happens when there are more upsides than downsides.
The book that follows on from the work of Collingwood, and takes us to the corrective (and small corrective is needed!) is Carr's "What is History?" https://www.amazon.com/What-History-Penguin-H-Carr/dp/0140135847/ref=sr_1_2 It's a small book, just 200 pages incl references and index, and a clear read. It was written in the 60s, I believe, and thus, the language is more modern and easy. Collingwood says that history cannot be used to predict the future and, in one sense, he is right: it's never an exact repeat. But Carr disagrees and says that generalities can be made that are very helpful in predicting probabilities. But, as we know, probabilities are not certainties.
While reading IOH and Collingwood's views on other historians and their works, I did wonder if anyone had since expanded on or critiqued his book.

I'm almost finished IOH and was going to begin Speculum Mentis. Should Carr's "What is History" be read between the two Collingwood books, or is it more of an "optional" read?
 

Corvus

Jedi Council Member
Re: Collingwood's Idea of History, Speculum Mentis & Gurdjieff's Primitive Cosmology

Carr s book I had as literature of choice on Theory of History among Bloch Apology of History, Gross Modern Historiography, Jenkins Re-thinking History, Hunt The New Cultural History. It was the only criticaly oriented subject where there was juice, miss some of that days.

As a kid in primary school I become to love history, remember when I got my first A grade and other kids being in awe, in high school was reading class books at home, it was a form of dissociation also but never had problems memorazing it, in other words it came pretty easily and there was curiosity and interest in something new, that is when you are a kid, later it dissapates more and more, that is why decided to study it. It looks like another life nowdays, another reality, most of it forgotten, like a ruins of ancient building, non existent, and probably it is.

When it comes to change, what kind of change is that when the essence stays the same. Same thing, different package.
 

Goemon_

Jedi Master
Re: Collingwood's Idea of History, Speculum Mentis & Gurdjieff's Primitive Cosmology

Laura said:
Jones said:
Corvinus said:
Yas,
When it comes to human nature and his view that it is changing I would disagree, human nature is not changing, human perceptions, desires, thinking and technological knowledge is progressing, but alas only in certain spheres and in limited amount. Human nature was and is still entropic and the rules are more or less the same as prior to 1000 years ago, just there are gloves today.
Yes, Collingwood makes a distinction between progress and development. A change if it brings as many downsides as it does upsides then the net effect is zero - that would be a development. Progress happens when there are more upsides than downsides.
The book that follows on from the work of Collingwood, and takes us to the corrective (and small corrective is needed!) is Carr's "What is History?" https://www.amazon.com/What-History-Penguin-H-Carr/dp/0140135847/ref=sr_1_2 It's a small book, just 200 pages incl references and index, and a clear read. It was written in the 60s, I believe, and thus, the language is more modern and easy. Collingwood says that history cannot be used to predict the future and, in one sense, he is right: it's never an exact repeat. But Carr disagrees and says that generalities can be made that are very helpful in predicting probabilities. But, as we know, probabilities are not certainties.
For the frenchies, this one is available in French on _www.livrenpoche.com for around 6€. I think it is a good habit to go on _www.chasse-aux-livres.fr to find the best price for a book. It also works for books in english but this French website will not look on foreign websites so it is a good idea to check _amason.co.uk too.

My 2 cents

link for Carr's book "Qu'est-ce que l'histoire ?": _www.livrenpoche.com/qu-est-ce-que-l-histoire-e32966.html?master=1307399&mw_aref=47543e7af82d09beb7cd4285fdfc9b0f
 

istina

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Re: Collingwood's Idea of History, Speculum Mentis & Gurdjieff's Primitive Cosmology

Balance said:
Does anyone here, who's from Ex-Yu states, knows where I can buy these recommended books(or at least some of them) translated on Serbian/Croatian?
(...)
(I can read it on English also, but these are really complicated subjects which I prefer reading on native language, if there is a translation...if not...that's how it is - Amazon here I am ;D)
Me too! unfortunately I could not find them translated. But I found that latest book Laura mentioned (What is History): https://www.superknjizara.hr/?page=knjiga&id_knjiga=13974
And the tip: I always look at prices in amazon and compare them here on Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/What-is-History-E-H-Carr-Edward-Hallett-Carr/9780140135848?ref=grid-view&qid=1511542833479&sr=1-1

They have free delivery worldwide so that it is always cheaper and is delivered much faster.
 

Anthony

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Re: Collingwood's Idea of History, Speculum Mentis & Gurdjieff's Primitive Cosmology

istina said:
Balance said:
Does anyone here, who's from Ex-Yu states, knows where I can buy these recommended books(or at least some of them) translated on Serbian/Croatian?
(...)
(I can read it on English also, but these are really complicated subjects which I prefer reading on native language, if there is a translation...if not...that's how it is - Amazon here I am ;D)
Me too! unfortunately I could not find them translated. But I found that latest book Laura mentioned (What is History): https://www.superknjizara.hr/?page=knjiga&id_knjiga=13974
And the tip: I always look at prices in amazon and compare them here on Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/What-is-History-E-H-Carr-Edward-Hallett-Carr/9780140135848?ref=grid-view&qid=1511542833479&sr=1-1

They have free delivery worldwide so that it is always cheaper and is delivered much faster.
Idea of History has been translated: _https://www.superknjizara.hr/?page=knjiga&id_knjiga=100061464.
It's not available though, and I'm not sure where one can buy it, maybe send a message to the site and see if they can get it. Also check your local library. I noticed that it's available in a library in Zagreb, if that helps.

Edit: found it through bookfinder.com but the price is huge: https://www.bookfinder.com/search/?ac=sl&st=sl&ref=bf_s2_a1_t1_1&qi=dBg0iMUFUhSPjDiJWHj1,ah7,uk_1497963026_1:1:1&bq=author%3Drobin%2520dz%2E%2520kolingvud%26title%3Dideja%2520istorije.
 

whitecoast

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One thing that kind of stood out for me in Collingwood's Idea of History was the distinction made in part 5 were his descriptions about which parts of reality were fit for analysis by the historical method. The study of the history of the earth in geology, the history of life in paleontology, and the history of the universe as studies in astronomy in physics, in spite of being treated in the vernacular as historical subjects, are not by Collingwood's standards topics of history. What he considers fit for historical study of human affairs, and not even all human affairs but rather those in which there is thought. IMO he shares with Hegel the false understanding of nature as merely a "changeless repertory of fixed types", when in fact as evolution shows it is a nuanced and as distinct as anything humans can produce in their own historical realities. I think this is because he has a fundamentally materialist (as opposed to a mentalist bent) by drawing a hard line between human (consisting of phenomena and mind) and non-human (consisting only of phenomena). From a panpsychist or information theory perspective, agency does have a hand in it all (even if the details of how that specifically manifests in the phenomena is highly speculative). To his credit, he does postulate that in some perspectives there is a mental component or agency in natural phenomena, construed sometimes as angels and gods and the like. In such a scenario, the historical method could be applied, allowing us to comprehend the minds of the forces that generate physical events. Readers of signs and portents do just that, I think.

There seems to be a progression in the craft of history that, as our knowledge of the world grows, so does our knowledge of ourselves. This self-knowledge helps us further gain knowledge of the world. For example, we are familiar with our everyday lives, and use our contemporary understanding of the human condition to help re-imagine and re-enact the thought and agency of past humans. With greater knowledge of the various types of humans, including pathological varieties, we are better able to get into the minds of psychopaths of great historical influence all the better, and understand things even more clearly. As our knowledge of the world grows, to the point of also incorporating and understanding of high strangeness, we catch glimpses of agencies beyond our current level of understanding. Using revelation as a 1% inspiration for the 99% perspiration, Laura has unmasked evidence of a hyperdimensional conspiracy by 4D STS forces, whose agency can be seen in things like the near-universality of inflammatory foods in the human diet, as well as a deliberate spreading of cryptic infections that distort the mind via the body in subtle ways. IOW, with greater knowledge and awareness more and more phenomena is construed over time as functions of mind. The ending of Speculum Mentus, for me, points very strongly in that direction as well.
 

Laura

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whitecoast said:
One thing that kind of stood out for me in Collingwood's Idea of History was the distinction made in part 5 were his descriptions about which parts of reality were fit for analysis by the historical method. The study of the history of the earth in geology, the history of life in paleontology, and the history of the universe as studies in astronomy in physics, in spite of being treated in the vernacular as historical subjects, are not by Collingwood's standards topics of history. What he considers fit for historical study of human affairs, and not even all human affairs but rather those in which there is thought. IMO he shares with Hegel the false understanding of nature as merely a "changeless repertory of fixed types", when in fact as evolution shows it is a nuanced and as distinct as anything humans can produce in their own historical realities. I think this is because he has a fundamentally materialist (as opposed to a mentalist bent) by drawing a hard line between human (consisting of phenomena and mind) and non-human (consisting only of phenomena). From a panpsychist or information theory perspective, agency does have a hand in it all (even if the details of how that specifically manifests in the phenomena is highly speculative). To his credit, he does postulate that in some perspectives there is a mental component or agency in natural phenomena, construed sometimes as angels and gods and the like. In such a scenario, the historical method could be applied, allowing us to comprehend the minds of the forces that generate physical events. Readers of signs and portents do just that, I think.
Yes, Collingwood isn't perfect but he comes darn close! I'm going to try to post some criticisms of Collingwood made by Carr later on.

whitecoast said:
There seems to be a progression in the craft of history that, as our knowledge of the world grows, so does our knowledge of ourselves. This self-knowledge helps us further gain knowledge of the world. For example, we are familiar with our everyday lives, and use our contemporary understanding of the human condition to help re-imagine and re-enact the thought and agency of past humans. With greater knowledge of the various types of humans, including pathological varieties, we are better able to get into the minds of psychopaths of great historical influence all the better, and understand things even more clearly. As our knowledge of the world grows, to the point of also incorporating and understanding of high strangeness, we catch glimpses of agencies beyond our current level of understanding. Using revelation as a 1% inspiration for the 99% perspiration, Laura has unmasked evidence of a hyperdimensional conspiracy by 4D STS forces, whose agency can be seen in things like the near-universality of inflammatory foods in the human diet, as well as a deliberate spreading of cryptic infections that distort the mind via the body in subtle ways. IOW, with greater knowledge and awareness more and more phenomena is construed over time as functions of mind. The ending of Speculum Mentus, for me, points very strongly in that direction as well.
The statements in bold above are super important. The Cs say over and over and over again that "Knowledge protects". With Collingwood, we begin to understand how to go about acquiring that knowledge - or at least, a very significant part of it. Obviously, for us, there is much more. We think that knowledge of our machine/body is very important because with that, you can know when the machine is interfering with the acquisition of knowledge. We also consider that Nature/Cosmos is a very big part of this because, from the Cs point of view, that is often reflective of hyperdimensional intelligences which Collingwood ignored, downplayed, negated as significant.

Along with the pure information that Collingwood brings to the table, there is the EFFORT and ATTENTION that is required to read his work, and that is invaluable as a "Work on the Self" exercise. And, as I have noted in the "Hyperdimensional Politics" thread, this work on the self should be a priority in these times. That is not to say that one should neglect normal life, but I'm sure that everyone has a set of activities that are not so important and could easily be exchanged for something of great value.
 

nature

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Thank you, Whitecoast, for this reminder: Using revelation as a 1% inspiration for the 99% perspiration.
I now understand what it means: 99% perspiration = readings and reflexions by our own efforts, by connecting the dots from one important book to another's one, and in a right manner i.e. by discussing here, networking.

Thank you vey much Laura for sharing chanelling (inspiration) and list of books (perspiration)!
I haven't yet read these books (I've ordered and received them though) but I'm willing to do it very soon. Meanwhile I have so much personal issues to deal with. I know that everyone has difficult life to deal with, I'm not the only one, but it's so hard to do all these things alltogether.
 

PERLOU

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Merci GOEMON pour les liens concernant : Carr, E. H. Qu'est ce que l'histoire... en Français.
Je viens de le commander chez AbeBooks.fr pour 9.95 euros...

Thank you GOEMON for the links on: Carr, E. H. What is history ... in French.
I just ordered it from AbeBooks.fr for 9.95 euros ...
 

sid

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
nature said:
Thank you, Whitecoast, for this reminder: Using revelation as a 1% inspiration for the 99% perspiration.
I now understand what it means: 99% perspiration = readings and reflexions by our own efforts, by connecting the dots from one important book to another's one, and in a right manner i.e. by discussing here, networking.

Thank you vey much Laura for sharing chanelling (inspiration) and list of books (perspiration)!
I haven't yet read these books (I've ordered and received them though) but I'm willing to do it very soon. Meanwhile I have so much personal issues to deal with. I know that everyone has difficult life to deal with, I'm not the only one, but it's so hard to do all these things alltogether.
Hi nature

If you do not mind, please share those personal issues in the relevant thread, if you are comfortable in doing so, of course. You never know, it may end up helping you as well as other members of the group.
 

Laura

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I thought I would make an effort to transcribe some bits from Carr's "What is History" here, in particular as it relates to Collingwood and a couple other very interesting things.

First of all, Carr, writing in about 1960-61, talks about the period in which Collingwood was working as follows:

During the past fifty years a good deal of serious work has been done on the question 'What is history?' It was from Germany, the country which was to do so much to upset the comfortable reign of nineteenth-century liberalism {referring to the later manifestation of Naziism}, that the first challenge came in the 1880s and 1890s to the primacy and autonomy of facts in history.
Here, what he is talking about is the issue of how facts are used an mis-used in constructing history. The old view was that history consists of a corpus of fact that are available to the historian in documents, inscriptions etc, and all s/he has to do is collect them and arrange them to produce "history." The assumption is that there are certain basic facts which are the same for all historians, and that is the backbone of history. Carr points out that getting the facts right - such as the fact that the Battle of Hastings was fought in 1066 - but 'accuracy is a duty, not a virtue'. Yes, the historian must rely on archaeology, epigraphy, numismatics, chronology and so on and so forth, and these raw materials ARE all the same for every historian. Problems begin to appear, however, because of the decision of the historian about WHICH of these facts to select and arrange in his/her history. Obviously, every single fact known can't make the cut because such a text would be YUGE! So, the historian picks which facts are important. The fact that Caesar crossed the Rubicon is important, but the fact that millions of other people have crossed it is not important to history.

Thus, history is, necessarily, selective. Carr writes:

History has been called an enormous jig-saw with a lot of missing parts. But the main trouble does not consist in the lacunae. Our picture of Greece in the fifth century BC is defective not primarily because so many of the bits have been accidentally lost, but because it is, by and large, the picture formed by a tiny group of people in the city of Athens. ... Our picture has been preselected and predetermined for us, not so muc by accident as by people who were consciously or unconsciously imbued with a particular view and thought the facts which supported that view worth preserving. In the same way, when I read in a modern history of the Middle Ages that the people of the Middle Ages were deeply concerned with religion, I wonder how we know this, and whether it is true. What we know as the facts of medieval history have almost all been selected for us by generations of chroniclers who were professionally occupied in the theory and practice of religion, and who therefore thought is supremely important, and recorded everything relating to it, and not much else.
So, this problem of who was writing the materials that were being used as "facts" and what their agendas were came up.

The next point that was made by the Italian, Croce, who said that all history is contemporary history by which he meant that historians see the past through the eyes of the present and in view of its problems.

The practical requirements which underlie every historical judgement give to all history the character of "contemporary history", because, however remote in time events thus recounted may seem to be, the history in reality refers to present needs and present situaations wherein those events vibrate. (Croce, History as the Story of Liberty, Engl. transl. 1941, p. 19)
Another thing is that the historian sees his subject through the lens of his own psychological make-up. This is where Collingwood came in. Carr writes:

Croce was an important influence on the Oxford philosopher and historian Collingwood, the only British thinker in the present century who has made a serious contribution to the philosophy of history. He did not live to write the systematic treatise he had planned; but his published and unpublished papers on the subject were collected after his death in a volume entitled The Idea of History, which appeared in 1945.

The views of Collingwood can be summarized as follows. The philosophy of history is concerned neither with 'the past by itself' nor with 'the historian's thought about it by itself', but with 'the two things in their mutual relations'. ...'The past which a historian studies is not a dead past, but a past which in some sense is still living in the present.' But a pas act is dead, i.e. meaningless to the historian, unless he can understand the thought that lay behind it. Hence 'all history is the history of thought', and 'history is the re-enactment in the historian's mind of the thought whose history he is studying'. The reconstitution of the past in the historian's mind is dependent on empirical evidence. But it is not in itself an empirical process, and cannot consist in a mere recital of facts. On the contrary, the process of reconstitution governs the selection and interpretation of the facts: this, indeed, is what makes them historical facts.' ...

In the first place, the facts of history never come to us 'pure', since they do not and cannot exist in a pure form: they are always refracted through the mind of the recorder. It follows that when we take up a work of history, our first concern should be not with the facts which it contains but with the historian who wrote it.
Here we find pretty much a statement of my constant question: SEZ WHO? Because WHO says something is as important as what is said! Back to Carr:

But, in order to appreciate it at its full value {a given history}, you have to understand what the historian is doing. For if, as Collingwood says, the historian must re-enact in thought what has gone on in the mind of his dramatis personae, so the reader in his turn must re-enact what goes on in the mind of the historian. Study the historian before you begin to study the facts. This is, after all, not very abstruse. It is what is already done by the intelligent undergraduate who, when recommended to read a work by the great scholar Jones of St Jude's, goes round to a friend at St Jude's to ask what sort of chap Jones is, and what bees he has in his bonnet. When you read a work of history, always listen out for the buzzing. If you can detect none, either you are tone deaf or your historian is a dull dog.
Again and again the Cs have said that one must collect data from MANY sources and NETWORK. This isn't just directed at me, alone. Yes, I've carried the major part of the burden and have worked to narrow the field a bit, but it is still very important for each and every one of you to accumulate data, knowledge, awareness!

Carr discusses these points a bit more, but we will pass over that and move onto his next comment about Collingwood.

If, however, these are some of the insights of what I may call the Collingwood view of history, it is time to consider some of the dangers. The emphasised on the role of the historian in the making of history tends, if pressed to its logical conclusion, to rule out any objective history at all: history is what the historian makes. Collingwood seems indeed, at one moment, in an unpublished note quoted by his editor, to have reached this conclusion:

St Augustine looked at history from the point of view of the early Christian; Tillamont, from that of a seventeenth-century Frenchman; Gibbon, from that of an eighteenth-century Englisman; Mommsen from that of a nineteenth-century German. There is no point in asking which was the right point of view. Each was the only one possible for the man who adopted it.
This amounts to total scepticism, like Froude's remark that history is 'a child's box of letter with which we can spell any word se please'. Collingwood, in his reaction against 'scissors=and-paste history', against the view of history as a mere compilation of facts, comes perilously near to treating history as something spun out of the human brain, and leads back to the conclusion... that 'there is no "objective" historical truth'. In place of the theory that history has no meaning, we are offered here the theory of an infinity of meanings, none any more right than any other - which comes to much the same thing. The second theory is surely as untenable as the first. It does not follow that, because a mountain appears to take on different shapes from different angles of vision, it has objectively either no shape at all or an infinity of shapes. It does not follow that, because interpretation plays a necessry part in establishing the facts of history, and because no existing interpretation is wholly objective, one interpretation is as good as another, and the facts of history are in principle not amenable to objective interpretation.

But a still greater danger lurks in the Collingwood hypothesis. If the historian necessarily looks at his period of history through the eyes of his own time, and studies the problems of the past as a key to those of the present, will he not fall into a purely pragmatic view of the facts, and maintain that the criterion of a right interpretation is its suitability to some present purpose. {that is} Knowledge is knowledge for some purpose. The validity of the knowledge depends on the validity of the purpose."
This criticism of Collingwood is, IMO, very apt and in the last part, we see something like "the ends justify the means" which is an abomination to Truth.

So, that is a danger of taking Collingwood extraordinary work and giving it a twist and then pushing it TOO FAR. Carr discusses this but you will need to read the book for that exposition.
 

genero81

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"Collingwood, in his reaction against 'scissors=and-paste history', against the view of history as a mere compilation of facts, comes perilously near to treating history as something spun out of the human brain, and leads back to the conclusion... that 'there is no "objective" historical truth'. In place of the theory that history has no meaning, we are offered here the theory of an infinity of meanings, none any more right than any other - which comes to much the same thing. The second theory is surely as untenable as the first. It does not follow that, because a mountain appears to take on different shapes from different angles of vision, it has objectively either no shape at all or an infinity of shapes. It does not follow that, because interpretation plays a necessry part in establishing the facts of history, and because no existing interpretation is wholly objective, one interpretation is as good as another, and the facts of history are in principle not amenable to objective interpretation.

But a still greater danger lurks in the Collingwood hypothesis. If the historian necessarily looks at his period of history through the eyes of his own time, and studies the problems of the past as a key to those of the present, will he not fall into a purely pragmatic view of the facts, and maintain that the criterion of a right interpretation is its suitability to some present purpose. {that is} Knowledge is knowledge for some purpose. The validity of the knowledge depends on the validity of the purpose."



Maybe this makes more sense in the context of the entirety of the book. And maybe I misunderstood Collingwood, but that is not what I took away from what I understood his conclusions to be. Early on in the contact with the C's they mentioned "the ever expanding present" I took that to mean that the present is the only point of reference of awareness. And as knowledge increases, including knowledge of the past, as well as awareness which begins to include, for lack of a better way to describe it, multidimensional aspects of being. i.e. future selves. The present continually expands to include all.

It just looks like a misinterpretation of Collingwood to me but I could be totally wrong. It wouldn't be the first time!
 

Laura

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genero81 said:
"Collingwood, in his reaction against 'scissors=and-paste history', against the view of history as a mere compilation of facts, comes perilously near to treating history as something spun out of the human brain, and leads back to the conclusion... that 'there is no "objective" historical truth'. In place of the theory that history has no meaning, we are offered here the theory of an infinity of meanings, none any more right than any other - which comes to much the same thing. The second theory is surely as untenable as the first. It does not follow that, because a mountain appears to take on different shapes from different angles of vision, it has objectively either no shape at all or an infinity of shapes. It does not follow that, because interpretation plays a necessry part in establishing the facts of history, and because no existing interpretation is wholly objective, one interpretation is as good as another, and the facts of history are in principle not amenable to objective interpretation.

But a still greater danger lurks in the Collingwood hypothesis. If the historian necessarily looks at his period of history through the eyes of his own time, and studies the problems of the past as a key to those of the present, will he not fall into a purely pragmatic view of the facts, and maintain that the criterion of a right interpretation is its suitability to some present purpose. {that is} Knowledge is knowledge for some purpose. The validity of the knowledge depends on the validity of the purpose."


Maybe this makes more sense in the context of the entirety of the book. And maybe I misunderstood Collingwood, but that is not what I took away from what I understood his conclusions to be. Early on in the contact with the C's they mentioned "the ever expanding present" I took that to mean that the present is the only point of reference of awareness. And as knowledge increases, including knowledge of the past, as well as awareness which begins to include, for lack of a better way to describe it, multidimensional aspects of being. i.e. future selves. The present continually expands to include all.

It just looks like a misinterpretation of Collingwood to me but I could be totally wrong. It wouldn't be the first time!
That's not what I took away either because I was attentive to Collingwood's caveats. However, I can see why Carr says that Collingwood comes "perilously close". We've all seen how easy it is to misunderstand things, or to press an idea beyond what it can bear. As far as I can see, that's the most criticism of Collingwood that Carr made. But, curiously, in the end, he pretty much says about History what Collingwood said, only in a slightly different way!!!
 
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