Robin George Collingwood

Collingwood, Robin George


Born Feb. 22, 1889, in Cartmel Fell, Lancashire; died Jan. 9, 1943, in Coniston, Lancashire. English idealist philosopher and historian and representative of neo-Hegelianism. Authority on the history of ancient Britain.

Collingwood was a professor of philosophy at Oxford from 1935 to 1941. Under the influence of B. Croce, Collingwood sought to establish a link between philosophy and history. He held that philosophy ought to adopt the historical method and that both disciplines have a common subject—human thought developing historically. The historian studies human thought by analyzing the products of spiritual and material culture, and the philosopher, by interpreting the data of self-consciousness and by introspection. According to Collingwood, thought forms a hierarchy of “forms of experience” based on imagination, symbolization, and abstraction (art, religion, science, natural science, history, and philosophy). Opposing neopositivism, he advocated the traditions of idealist metaphysics derived from Plato and Hegel.


Speculum mentis. Oxford, 1924.
Essay on Philosophical Method. Oxford [1933].
The New Leviathan. Oxford, 1942.
An Autobiography. New York, 1944.
The Principles of Art. Oxford, 1947.
The Idea of Nature. Oxford, 1945.
The Idea of History. Oxford, 1956.
The Archaeology of Roman Britain. London, 1969. (With I. Richmond.)


Kissel’, M. A. ‘“Kriticheskaia filosofiia istorii’ v Velikobritanii.” Voprosy istorii, 1968, no. 5.
Kissel’, M. A. Uchenie o dialektike v burzhuaznoi filosofii 20 v. [Leningrad] 1970.
Donagan, A. The Later Philosophy of R. G. Collingwood. Oxford, 1962.


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In his unpublished "Lectures on the Ontological Proof of the Existence of God" (hereafter LOP) written in 1919, the original Idealist English philosopher Robin George Collingwood (1889-1943) displays the extent to which the problem of belief represented a deep and serious concern for him.
1) Robin George Collingwood, An Essay on Metaphysics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1940), 210.