History as Re-Enactment by W. H. Dray
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History as Re-Enactment
By W. H. Dray

History as Re-Enactment

R.G.Collingwood's "Idea of History"

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Format: Paperback

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History as Re-Enactment by W. H. Dray

Book Description

A central motif of R. G. Collingwood's philosophy of history is the idea that historical understanding requires a re-enactment of past experience. However, there have been sharp disagreements about the acceptability of this idea, and even its meaning. This book aims to advance the critical discussion in three ways: by analysing the idea itself further, concentrating especially on the contrast which Collingwood drew between it and scientific understanding; by exploring the limits of its applicability to what historians ordinarily consider their proper subject-matter; and by clarifying the relationship between it and some other key Collingwoodian ideas, such as the place of imagination in historical inquiry, the sense in which history deals with the individual, the essential perspectivity of historical judgement, and the importance of narrative and periodization in historical thinking. Professor Dray defends Collingwood against a good deal of recent criticism, while pointing to ways in which his position requires revision or development. History as Re-enactment draws upon a wide range of Collingwood's published writings, and makes considerable use of his unpublished manuscripts. It is the most systematic study yet of this central doctrine of Collingwood's philosophy of history, and will stand as a landmark in Collingwood studies. 'For many years William Dray has been working at the task of retrieving Collingwood for contemporary philosophy...It is something of an event then to have this new work, the culmination of a lifetime of thought, appear in his retirement. As one would expect, it is a deeply considered book, lucidly written, and scrupulously fair to all parties ...a sound and serious philosophical commentary ...anyone interested in either Collingwood or the philosophy of history should consider joining the dialogue and will learn much in the process.' Canadian Journal of History

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780198238812
ISBN-10: 0198238819
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 139mm x 19mm)
Pages: 360
Imprint: Clarendon Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 4-Mar-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...


Books By Author W. H. Dray

Principles of History by W. H. Dray Principles of History, Paperback (February 2001)

This work on the philosophy of history, by the Oxford philosopher, historian, and archaeologist R. G. Collingwood (1889-1943) also includes two conclusions written by Collingwood for lectures which were eventually revised and published as "The Idea of Nature".

History as Re-enactment by W. H. Dray History as Re-enactment, Hardback (January 1996)

This treatise defends a central tenet in the theory of history put forward by R.G. Collingwood, an important philosopher of history. It critically analyzes the idea of re-enactment, explores the limits of its applicability, and determines its relationship to Collingwood's other theories.

» View all books by W. H. Dray

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Author Biography - W. H. Dray

W. H. Dray is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa; he has held visiting appointments at Toronto, Harvard, Stanford, and Duke Universities, among others.

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