Collingwood and the Crisis of Western Civilisation: Art, Metaphysics and Dialectic

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This book argues that R.G. Collingwood’s philosophy is best understood as a diagnosis of and response to a crisis of Western civilisation. The various and complementary aspects of the crisis of civilisation are explored and Collingwood is demonstrated to be working in the traditions of Romanticism and ‘historicism’. On these subjects, the theories of Collingwood and Ortega y Gasset are contrasted with those of Nietzsche and Weber.
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Editorial Reviews

Network - David Lorimer

"R.G. Collingwood was a significant Oxford philosopher of history, whose work has been enjoying a recent revival. Although primarily written for scholars, the general reader can benefit from this book with its wide frame of reference."

History of Political Thought - Ian Tregenza

"While there is a tendency to want to minimize the tensions in Collingwood's thought, Murphy is nevertheless able to draw together many of the seemingly disparate elements in Collingwood's thought, as well as establish illuminating connections between Collingwood and some of his half forgotten contemporaries. In these respects the book stands alongside some of the best recent Collingwood scholarship."

Political Studies Review - James G. Mellon

"Proceeds by means of an intensive examination of Collingwood's writings."

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Richard Murphy has written for New Line Cinema, Sony/Revolution, and Universal Pictures. Before screenwriting, he renovated apartments and houses in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Murphy lives in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, with his wife, and he is currently in the market to buy a home. Visit his website at

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations     vi
Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction     1
Art and the Crisis of Civilisation
Romanticism, Historicism and the Unity of the Forms of Experience     13
Art and Craft     39
Art, Consciousness and Truth     55
Artist and Community     71
Logic and Metaphysics
A Revolution in Logic     91
Metaphysics and the Logic of Question and Answer     107
Metaphysics, History and Progress     133
Dialectic, Civilisation and Politics
The Phenomenology of Mind     183
The Politics of Dialectic     215
Civilisation, Capitalism and the Bureaucratic State     249
Conclusion     271
References     281
Index     289
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