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Understanding others: cultural anthropology with Collingwood and Quine




On one meaning of the term “historicism” to be a historicist is to be committed to the claim that the human sciences have a methodology of their own that is distinct in kind and not only in degree from that of the natural sciences. In this sense of the term Collingwood certainly was a historicist, for he defended the view that history is an autonomous discipline with a distinctive method and subject matter against the claim for methodological unity in the sciences. On another interpretation historicism is a relativist way of thinking which denies the possibility of universal and fundamental interpretations of historical or cultural phenomena. In the following I argue that at least in this second sense of “historicism” Collingwood was everything but a historicist. Quine, on the contrary, was nothing but a historicist. The goal of the comparison, however, is not to establish just who, on this definition, was or was not a historicist, but to draw a few conclusions about what a commitment to or rejection of historicism in this sense, tells us about the nature of understanding.


D'Oro. (2013). Understanding others: cultural anthropology with Collingwood and Quine. Journal of the Philosophy of History, 326 - 345 (20)

Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2013
Publication Date Jan 1, 2013
Journal Journal of the Philosophy of History
Print ISSN 1872-261X
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
Pages 326 - 345 (20)