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Unlikely bedfellows?: Collingwood, Carnap and the internal/external distinction


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Idealism is often associated with the kind of metaphysical system building which was successfully disposed of by logical positivism. As Hume’s fork was intended to deliver a serious blow to Leibnizian metaphysics so logical positivism invoked the verificationist principle against the reawakening of metaphysics, in the tradition of German and British idealism. In the light of this one might reasonably wonder what Carnap’s pragmatism could possibly have in common with Collingwood’s idealism. After all, Carnap is often seen as a champion of the logical positivist’s critique of metaphysics, whilst Collingwood is renowned for his defence of the possibility of metaphysics against the attack to which Ayer subjected it. The answer is that they have more in common than one might suspect and that, once the relevant qualifications are made, there is as much convergence as there is contestation between Carnapian pragmatism and Collingwoodian idealism.

Acceptance Date May 16, 2015
Publication Date Jun 18, 2015
Journal British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Print ISSN 0960-8788
Publisher Routledge
Pages 802-817
Keywords philosophy, idealism, pragmatism, Collingwood, Carnap, metaphysics, logical positivism, metaphilosophy, metaontology
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