Friday, April 6, 2012

A Shocking Discovery!!!

Oh my! Oh. Well then.

I'm starting to dig in to Collingwood's unfinished final book, The Principles of History. Very interesting.

And then I ran into something veryyyyyy exciting. Something that feels very significant to me.

Collingwood claims that aesthetics and historical thought are inextricably related, and that "a science of aesthetic is an indispensable precondition to any science of historical method..." (The Principles Of History, 52). How interesting. The union between aesthetics and history comes from the fact that historians gather evidence by reading documents and things. Historians work exclusively through language. All language, according to Collingwood, belongs to the realm of aesthetics. Thus the historian must necessarily pass through an aesthetic stage of reading and understanding a text before he can set about his task of understanding its historical significance. Historical thinking thus involves a 'literary' process. To think historically is to "do something of exactly the same kind as reading a work of fiction or a warning to trespassers. Investigations concerning the nature of this process are carried out by the science of language, which is not philology but aesthetic" (Ibid.). Very interesting indeed.

This may have some potential relationship with Schiller. The idea that someone must pass through a stage of aesthetic education if he is to be able to move on to other forms of education.

This is most exciting for me because it gives me the possibility of completing AZI. Because I will be able to successfully connect the whole idea of the aesthetic existence to the dutiful consciousness, which is simultaneously the historical consciousness. Thus properly uniting all of Collingwood's work.

I think I'm starting to see more of the whole that Collingwood intended his oeuvre to be. The intersection of aesthetics, metaphysics, history, duty, and political rationality are all coming together.

I'll try to explore all this in much longer form soon.

Every day I feel like I'm gaining momentum on this thinking. Strange, how my thought seems to be coming on so heavily these days. It felt stagnant for a while but now I've got so much to think about.

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