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Braaksma, Y.

Department of the History of Philosophy

‘The Babblings of Pragmatism’

R.G. Collingwood’s Rejection of Pragmatist Philosophy

Despite his own lifelong ambition to bring about a rapprochement between theory and practice, the British archaeologist, historian and philosopher R.G. Collingwood (1889-1943) most emphatically rejects pragmatism, the philosophical movement that has the same goal as one of its core motivations. In this paper, I elucidate Collingwood’s reasons for this dismissal, by placing the scarce and brief remarks he makes about it in their historical context. The paper shows that Collingwood’s rejection of pragmatism comes in three inter-related layers. From Collingwood’s perspective, the pragmatists make a grave mistake in their epistemology, which betrays a flaw in their metaphysics, and has devastating consequences for their methodology and logic.

Last modified:09 September 2016 12.30 p.m.