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How the untimely death of RG Collingwood changed the course of philosophy forever

The passing of this eclectic and questioning man in his prime allowed the narrower and more imperious Gilbert Ryle to dominate British philosophy. Had Collingwood lived, could the deep and damaging schism with continental thought have been avoided?

By Ray Monk   October 2019

© NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, LONDON, PAINTING COURTESY TERESA SMITH

In the 20th century an unfortunate gulf opened up in philosophy between the “continental” and “analytic” schools. Even if you’ve never studied the subject, you might well have heard of this one split. But as the British moral philosopher Bernard Williams once pointed out, the very characterisation of this gulf is odd—one school being characterised by its qualities, the other geographically, like dividing cars between four-wheel drive…

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