Collingwood and the history of philosophy

I just came across a passage I really like, from the London Review of Books (19 June 2014), in an article describing the attitude of R.G. Collingwood towards history. This sums up how I think about the history of philosophy quite well:

"You had to put away your 'scissors and paste' as he put it, and start using your imagination: 'getting inside other people's heads, looking at their situation through their eyes, and thinking for yourself whether the way in which they tackled it was the right way.' And if, as often happens, you found yourself tempted to dismiss their notions as primitive, irrational or bizarre, you should reflect that the fault may lie not in them but in you. The chances are that the problems that bothered them were nothing like the ones that strike you as obvious or inevitable, and that they were offering sensible answers to their own questions rather than foolish answers to yours."

Denziloe's picture

This has been one of the

This has been one of the prime appeals of the history of philosophy, to me. It's easy to laugh at Thales, to take the very first example, for claiming magnets have souls - but that's the lazy approach. Far more interesting and rewarding is to understand his environment and why he might say this. Doing this takes some effort and some learning. Your podcast communicates this concept excellently.

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