R. G. Collingwood and the Presence of the Past

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Jonas Ahlskog
Publisher: Brill
Publication year: 2017
Journal: Journal of the Philosophy of History
Volume number: 11
Issue number: 3
Start page: 289
End page: 305
eISSN: 1872-2636


This essay examines recent theories about the presence of the past from
the perspective of Collingwood’s philosophy of history. In the work of
Eelco Runia and Frank Ankersmit among others, elaborate theories are
offered for explaining how the past conditions and moves the present.
Collingwood addresses the same kind of issues in his philosophy of
history, but his ideas are very seldom discussed in presence theory. The
aim of this essay is to place Collingwood’s philosophy of history in
dialogue with presence theory. I show that, even though Collingwood and
presence theory have similar aims, Collingwood offers a fundamentally
different account of how the past lives on in the here and now. Not only
is Collingwood’s account different – his conception of history
undermines central presuppositions of presence theory. In conclusion, I
argue that Collingwood’s account shows how questions about the presence
of the past are intimately connected with self-knowledge.

Last updated on 2019-17-11 at 03:50