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By R. G. Collingwood

One of many nice Oxford philosopher's best works, Essay on Metaphysics considers the character of philosophy, and places ahead Collingwood's unique and influential theories of causation, presuppositions, and the common sense of query and solution. This new version contains 3 attention-grabbing unpublished items that light up and enlarge the Essay.

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This is the central point of the present essay. I will try therefore to put it, even at the risk of repeating myself, as clearly as I can. For this purpose I will go back to the example of causation, and remind the reader of three familiar facts. (a) ,In Newtonian physics it is presupposed that some events (in the physical world; a qualification which hereinafter the reader will please understand when required) have causes and others not .. Events not due to the operation of causes are supposed to be due to the operation of laws.

But an absolute presupposition is not a 'dodge', and people who 'start' a new one do not start it because they 'like' to start it. People are not ordinarily aware of their absolute presuppositions (p. 43), and are not, therefore, thus aware of changes in them; such a change, therefore, cannot be a matter of choice. Nor is there anything superficial or frivolous about it. It is the most radical change a man can undergo, and entails the abandonment of all his most firmly established habits and standards for thought and action.

Sometimes it is inDEF. 28 ON PRESUPPOSING correctly used of malice prepense, by way of an insult; as when a man says to another with whom he is arguing, 'you are assuming that no one will work except for payment', where the point is that no one but a fool would make that assumption, though it is a supposition that might easily be made unawares. ' knowing perfectly well that the treader meant nothing by it, because he did not do it on purpose. PROP. 3. ,The logical efficacy of a supposition does not depend upon the truth of what is supposed, or even on its being thought true, but only on its being supposed.

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