Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why Collingwood?

Sometimes I wonder about my fascination with Collingwood. Why this dude? Why am I spending so much time reading and thinking about the books written by a man who died in 1943? What is it about this guy? Why this philosopher who, while known by many, is rarely collaborated with. And if someone does cite his work, it is often 'The Idea Of History' or 'An Autobiography'. Which are both awesome books. Super interesting and important stuff that is essential in Collingwood's oeuvre. But I've found such curious things in his other books. His work on metaphysics is super exciting. The stuff on aesthetics is so far-reaching. All kinds of gems.

Sometimes I say 'He is a thinker at the intersection of so many different types of thinking. He has a unique philosophy of history, of mind, of science, of nature. He is a total thinker.' Which isn't exactly true. Alain Badiou seems like a pretty damn total thinker: novelist, mathematician, logician, philosopher. Danggggg, he speaks several languages whoaaaaa. Collingwood, too, spoke and read many languages. But he wasn't a mathematician or anything. But he was a historian, philosopher, artist, sailor, and so on. He did a lot of different things.

But what it is about him?

I'm not sure what it is. But I keep moving through his books. Really excited for his book on philosophical method to arrive in the mail.

I'm also beginning to engage with new thinkers. Right now I'm reading Manuel Delanda and finding him very curious. He is a professed Deleuzian and holds a position named after Deleuze at the European Graduate School. Naturally, then, I'm also curious about Deleuze. 'A Thousand Plateaus' is sitting next to me, in fact.

I'm also very curious about Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and phenomenology broadly.

After watching Hubert Dreyfus discuss Husserl and Heidegger last night, I'm more convinced that Heidegger's work would have a ton to add to the project I am on. My project somehow loosely involves the relationship between aesthetics, zen, politics, war, history, individual decision making, education, and society blah blah blah. All kinds of stuff. But those first things I listed are definitely at the top of my list.

Collingwood helps me with all of those things.

The relationship between Collingwood and Foucault is also a big thing for me. A big reason Collingwood intrigues me is his similarity to Foucault.

Oh well, gotta go.

But I haven't figured out why it is Collingwood that I'm most compelled to read and think about. But I'll know at some point, I bet. I'll read all his books and study him and hopefully come to terms with him in some meaningful way. I can't let a mind like his go unexplored.

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