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En su autobiografía (1938) Robin Collingwood nos dice:
… It became clear to me that metaphysics (as its very name might show, though people still use the word as if it had been ‘paraphysics’) is no futile attempt at knowing what lies beyond the limits of experience, but is primarily at any given time an attempt to discover what the people of that time believe about the world’s general nature; such beliefs being the presuppositions of all their ‘physics’, that is, their inquiries into its detail. Secondarily, it is the attempt to discover the corresponding presuppositions of other peoples and other times, and to follow the historical process by which one set of presuppositions has turned into another.
The question what presuppositions underlie the ‘physics’ or natural science of a certain people at a certain time is a purely historical a question as what kind of clothes they wear. And this is the question that metaphysicians have to answer. It is not their business to raise the further question whether, among the various beliefs on this subject that various peoples hold and have held, this one or that one is true. This question, when raised, would always be found, as it always has been found, unanswerable; and if there is anything in my ‘logic of question and answer’ that is not to be wondered at, for the beliefs whose history the metaphysician has to study are not answers to questions but only presuppositions of questions, and therefore the distinction between what is true and what is false does not apply to them, but only the distinction between what is presupposed and what is not presupposed. A presupposition of one question may be the answer to another question. The beliefs which metaphysician tries to study and codify are presuppositions of the questions asked by natural scientists, but are not answers to any questions at all. This might be expressed by calling them ‘absolute’ presuppositions.
But the statements which any competent metaphysician tries to make or refute, substantiate or undermine, are themselves certainly true or false; for they are answers to questions about the history of these presuppositions. This was my answer to the rather threadbare question ‘how can metaphysics become a science?’ If science means a naturalistic science, the answer is that it had better not try. If science means an organized body of knowledge, the answer is: by becoming what it always has been; that is, frankly claiming its proper status as an historical inquiry in which, on the one hand, the beliefs of a given set of people at a given time concerning the nature of the world are exhibited as a single complex of contemporaneous fact, like, say, the British constitution as it stands to-day; and, on the other hand, the origin of these beliefs is inquired into, and it is found that during a certain space of time they have come into existence by certain changes out of certain others…
Los textos de Collingwood no son de los que se puede decir que están de moda, todo lo contrario. El aquí presentado resulta especialmente interesante para el estudio del peculiar enfoque suyo de la metafísica y de las presuposiciones. Resulta complementario a su agudo Essay in metaphysics de 1940.
Lucchesi, Marco (ed. 2008) Luca Pacioli, Divina proportione. Fac-simile da ediçao de1509/. Fundaçao Biblioteca Nacional, Rio de Janeiro.
Martin, R. N. (1991) Pierre Duhem: philosophy and history of science in the work of a believing physicist. Open Court, Chicago.
Mooney, Chris (2006) The Republican war on science. Basic Books, New York.
Paolo (1987) The dark abyss of time; the history of the Earth and the history
of nations from Hooke to Vico. University of Chicago, Chicago.
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