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Title: History and hermeneutics : the philosophy of R.G. Collingwood and its theological application
Author: Devanny, Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0001 3422 8992
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 1997
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This is a study of the philosopher Robin George Collingwood. It proceeds along three avenues. First contrary to the received interpretation which sees Collingwood's later work. exemplified by the essay on Metaphysics, as accepting complete historical rclatiyism. I argue that the Metaphysics is better understood within the contcxt ofhcImcneutics. and how careful consideration of his henncneutics of history can havc helpful and Illuminating theological applications. Both 'absolute presuppositions' and the controversial notion of 'unconscious thought' function as a critique of subjectiyism. The second avenue investigates the status of the doctrine of re-enactment. In common with recent research I argue that the doctrine is best understood as a transcendental condition of history. Collingwood is, therefore, clarif)ing the conditions for an understanding of the past, rather than providing the historian \\1th a method. I argue that re-enactmcnt is a 'grammatical' investigation into the nature of the historical object and 1 support this argument by a detailed account of the linguistic nature of Collingwood's philosophy. Following the school of anal~1ical philosophy of history, I argue that re-enactment is a thesis about historical explanation as opposed to explanation by general law s. An argument against the limitation of re-enactment to the bounds of historical explanation fonns the third avenue of research. While the doctrine is certainly an e:xample of historical explanation. there is too much evidence pointing to its henneneutical dimension to leave the issue there. 1 argue that Collingwood anticipates man~ of the themes common to the henneneutics of Hans-Georg Gadarner. and I attempt to systematize these using Gadarner as the yardstick. Finally. in a concluding chapter. I draw all these arguments together \\1thin a theological context I show that re-
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy