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Universality and Particularity in the Philosophy of History of E.B. Bax and R.C. Collingwood

Abstract

This paper examines the ways in which E. B. Bax and R. G. Collingwood attempted to avoid relativism and irrationalism without postulating a pure and universal reason. Both philosophers were profound historicists who recognised the fundamentally particular nature of the world. Yet they also attempted to retain a universal aspect to thought - Bax through his distinction between the logical and alogical realms, and Collingwood through his doctrine of re-enactment. The paper analyses both their metaphysical premises and their philosophies of history. Finally an attempt is made to use their arguments as starting points from which to arrive at a historicist resolution of the problems of relativism and irrationalism.

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