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 good judgment of query and solution. This new version contains 3 attention-grabbing unpublished items that remove darkness from and magnify the Essay.

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We don't try to verify it. It isn't a thing anybody has discovered, like microbes or the circulation of the blood. ' He is telling you that it is an absolute presupposition of the science he pursues; and I have made him a pathologist because this absolute presupposition 32 ON PRESUPPOSING about all events having causes, which a hundred years ago was made in every branch of natural science, has now ceased to be made in some branches, but medicine is one of those in which it is still made . Absolute presuppositions are not verifiable.

PROP. ' Every question involves a presupposition. It may be doubted whether any question that was ever asked involved one presupposition and no more. Ordinarily a question involves large numbers of them. ,. Directly or immediately, any given question involves one presupposition and only one, namely that from which it directly and immediately 'arises' (see Def. 2). ,This immediate presupposition, however, has in turn other presuppositions, which are thus indirectly presupposed by the original question.

But in our less scientific moments, when knowledge appears to us in the guise of mere apprehension, intuiting that which simply confronts us, we are not even aware that whatever we state to ourselves or others is stated in answer to a question, still less that every such question rests on presuppositions, and least of all that among these presuppositions some are absolute presuppositions . In this kind of thinking, absolute presuppositions are certainly at work; but they are doing their work in darkness,' the light of consciousness never falling on them .

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