Persons and Collingwood's Account

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Abstract:

In his critique of aesthetic individualism, R.G. Collingwood provides an account of persons that anticipates the post-Wittgensteinians; notably, Peter Strawson, Daniel Dennett, and Annette Baier. According to this view, persons emerge in the midst of other persons. This process is always unfinished and ongoing throughout one's life. One difficulty with this perspective is the problem of firstness: if persons are essentially second persons or one’s personhood is contingent upon other persons, how could there be a first person or early persons? One solution to this problem is to employ the notion of family or community. This solution can be found in both Collingwood and Baier.After this discussion,we look at his autobiography for evidence of his own 'discoveries' of personhood. There is tension here because he was a rebel and a loner, but there were a few (but not many) good relationships that confirm or exemplify his view of persons in his own life. Also briefly addressed is how this view fits into his theories of history and art.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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