Philosophy as Cultural Self-Knowledge

Philosophy as Cultural Self-Knowledge: R. G. Collingwood, Peter Winch and the Human Sciences (WC-Cult)

Principal investigator: Doc. Olli Lagerspetz
Period:  3. 1. 2022 – 2. 1. 2023
Grant No. 101026669 (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)



The input of the humanities and social sciences is vital in fostering a viable civil society. Informed public debate concerning the good life needs the kind of reflexive cultural self-understanding that they can offer. In cultural reflection, conceptual analysis, which is the domain of philosophy, has a key role. This vision of philosophy and the human sciences as cultural self-knowledge currently remains a minority view. However, during the twentieth century, it found powerful proponents in two leading philosophers of history and the social sciences: R.G. Collingwood (1889–1943) and Peter Winch (1926–1997). The aim of the planned project is to confront these two thinkers and tease out their underlying visions of philosophy. By engaging with these thinkers, the present project reopens questions about (1) the place of philosophy among the sciences, as well as (2) issues concerning the very nature of philosophical inquiry and (3) its impact on civil society and its challenges. The relation between Collingwood and Winch remains almost completely unexplored at present. The relationship between philosophy and human historicity, which was a key issue for both, presently remains underdeveloped in the analytic tradition. The planned research will take advantage of extensive manuscript material at the Centre for Ethics as Study in Human Value (CE) at the University of Pardubice (UPa). The CE has the unique combination of full access to the relevant Peter Winch manuscripts and a team of scholars knowledgeable in the post-Wittgensteinian tradition to which Winch belonged. The project furthermore includes a short visit to the Collingwood Archives at Oxford. The scholarship will enhance the CE’s reputation as the ‘go-to’ place for anyone doing research in the post-Wittgensteinian tradition. It will help the ER establish his reputation as a global expert and to expand his research network in a new direction, i.e. towards scholars on idealism.

Members of the workshop on 22 - 23 September

Members of the workshop on 22-23 September: Giuseppina D'Oro, Olli Lagerspetz, Jonas Ahlskog, Leonidas Tsilipakos

Link to podcast: