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 resolution. This re-creation contains 3 interesting unpublished items that remove darkness from and enlarge the Essay.

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To begin with, people may have a motive for deceiving themselves and each other. Where certain things which may happen in people's minds are conventionally regarded with disapproval, the lengths to which people in whose minds they actually do happen will go, in order to persuade themselves and others that they do not happen, are most remarkable: In modern Europe absolute presuppositions are unfashionable. The smart thing to do is to deny their existence. Even people who regard this as a silly I ABSOLUTE PRESUPPOSITIONS 43 fashion may very well be so far influenced by it as to weaken at the critical moment when every available ounce of determination is needed in order to decide whether a given presupposition is absolute or relative; and may allow a kind of mass-suggestion to decide them in favour of its being relative .

In a case like the present, therefore, the process of thought from question to question does not depend on each question's being answered truly, but only on its being answered: and not upon the questioner's thinking the answers true, but only on his accepting the answers given him, or 'assuming them for the sake of argument'. , This work of disentangling and arranging questions, which in the preceding chapter I have called analysis, 40 THE SCIENCE OF may be alternatively described as the work of detecting presuppositions.

To sum up. "Metaphysics is the attempt to find out what absolute presuppositions have been made by this or that person or group of persons, on this or that occasion or group of occasions, in the course of this or that piece of thinking. "Arising out of this, it will consider (for example) whether absolute presuppositions are made singly or in groups, and if the latter, how the groups are organized; whether different absolute presuppositions are made by different individuals or races or nations or classes; or on occasions when different things are being thought about; or whether the same have been made semper, ubique, ab omnibus.

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