Thursday, December 29, 2011

And With This Post...

I make it so that December and March are tied for the least blogged month of the year.


But when I wrote that post I set off a string of reflections. Reflections focused on my man Collingwood and the work on him that I recently initiated.

In order to complete Part IV of Art, Zen, And Insurrection, I undertook a chronological analysis of political themes in Collingwood's work. Beginning with The Principles Of Art I asked 'What is political in Collingwood's work on aesthetics?' From there I planned to move through, An Autobiography, An Essay On Metaphysics, The Idea Of History, and finally, The New Leviathan.

I managed to make it though the Autobiography and his Metaphysics, but I stalled out as soon as I hit The Idea Of History.

Part of this has to do with a gift that my (lovely and observant) parents got me. They bought me a copy of Collingwood's unfinished work, The Principles Of History. Which is awesome. I'm super happy to own it.

I was like oh snap.

But I was also like 'oh no, how am I going to write on Collingwood's work on history if I have an unread copy of The Principles Of History' in front of me?'

But oh well.

I'm just going to write on The Idea Of History, being careful to frame it as a preliminary statement of Collingwood's views on the politics of history.

This is the intro paragraph to that section:

"Approaching the political implications of Collingwood’s work on history is tricky for several reasons. On the one hand, we must do it, for Collingwood claimed that history was the highest form of knowledge, and no analysis of Collingwood’s oeuvre would be complete unless it took his claims about history seriously. The deeper difficulty, however, surrounds the status of his books that expressly deal with history. The Idea Of History, for example, was compiled from manuscripts by a student, and some have criticized his arrangement of the material. The Idea Of History, therefore, cannot be considered an authoritative statement of Collingwood’s conclusions about historical knowledge. Furthermore, the recovery of lost manuscripts and their publication as The Principles Of History complicates this task even further. In short, Collingwood didn’t live to complete his work on history. Drawing certain conclusions from his writing, therefore, is a difficult, if not impossible, task. In this section, however, I’d like to look at the material in The Idea Of History that is expressly political, just to provide a tentative statement about the politics of Collingwood’s history."

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