An autobiography by Robin George Collingwood

By Robin George Collingwood

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Is an historical question, and therefore cannot be settled except by historical methods. When So-and-so wrote in a distant past, it is generally a very difficult one, because writers (at any rate good writers) always write for their contemporaries, and in particular for those who are 'likely to be interested', which means those who are already asking the question to which an answer is being offered ;and consequently a writer very seldom explains what the question is that he is trying to answer.

4 -(*',,-$+#- -- + 34 QUESTION AND ANSWER theories of truth. According to propositional logic (under which denomination I include the so-called 'traditional'logic, the 'idealistic' logicof theeighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the 'symbolic' logic of the nineteenth and twentieth), truth or falsehood, which are what logic is chiefly concerned with, belongs to propositions as such. This doctrine was often expressed by calling the proposition the 'unit of thought', meaning that if you divide it up into parts such as subject, copula, predicate, any of these parts taken singly is not a complete thought, that is, not capable of being true or false.

Once a year the thing became a debauch, in the annual joint meeting in some university town of various philosophical societies at which papers and discussions went on for days together. Such gatherings introduced one to people in one's own profession, and they were useful as showing how delightful might be the society of men whose doctrines one disapproved, or how unnecessary it was to waste time over the works of some much advertised person who had only to stand up and speak in order to 54 T H E HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY proclaim himself an impostor.

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