“We can understand where we are only by understanding where we have been: how we got there, and the thoughts of those who would wish us to have got somewhere else.”
R.G. Collingwood, British philosopher of the first half of the twentieth century, is perhaps familiar to but a few these days.
That’s a shame, because he had much of interest to say, and much that remains relevant today. (I’ll confess that I’m particularly fond of three of his works — The Idea of Nature, The Principles of Art, and the posthumous collection The Idea of History.)
Simon Blackburn, professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge, reviews Fred Inglis’ new biography of Collingwood, History Man: The Life of R.G. Collingwood in Being and Time in The New Republic.