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By Robin George Collingwood

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Whitehead, has inspired a school of thought which is continuing the good work of jettisoning whatever can be recognized as positive doctrine by reviving the old positivist attack on metaphysics. After what I have said about propositional logic, I need not pause to explain why I think that this school, with all its ingenuity and pertinacity, is only building card-houses out of a pack of lies. But I do not think that altogether a waste of time. The 'idealistic' logic, to which this school is related as Oxford 'realism' was related to the school of Green, was a confused mixture of truth and error.

If so, he had of course failed. But had he perhaps been trying to produce something different ? If so, he might possibly have succeeded. If I found 30 QUESTION AND ANSWER the monument merely loathsome, was that perhaps my fault? Was I looking in it for qualities it did not possess, and either ignoring or despising those it did ? I will not try to describe everything I went through in what, for many months, continued to be my daily communings with the Albert Memorial. Of the various thoughts that came to me in those communings I will only state one: a further development of a thought already familiar to me.

In order to find out his meaning you must also know what the question was (a question in his own mind, and presumed by him to be in yours) to which the thing he has said or written was meant as an answer. It must be understood that question and answer, as I conceived them, were strictly correlative. A proposition was not an answer, or at any rate could 32 Q U E S T I O N A N D ANSWER not be the right answer, to any question which might have been answered otherwise. A highly detailed and particularized proposition must be the answer, not to a vague and generalized question, but to a question as detailed and particularized as itself.

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An autobiography by Robin George Collingwood


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