Historical Causation: Collingwood & Oakeshott's Attitudes

Document Type : Original Research


PhD student of Islamic Philosophy at Shahid Motahari University, Faculty member of Research Institute of Imam Khomeini and Islamic Revolution, Tehran, Iran


In this short essay, the place of these two concepts has been studied in analytic philosophy of history. Then, has been mentioned the attitudes of two outstanding philosophers of history who belong to idealist school. Differentiating among three meaning of cause in empirical sciences, practical life and history, Collingwood believes that the meaning of cause in history is reason. He argues that explanation of historical events depends on understanding of its subject's thoughts through subjective rethinking and reconstructing of those events by historian. Emphasizing on unique dimension of historical events, Oakeshott, sees their explanation not by generalizing but by mentioning more details in a way that in series of dependent events, remains no vacuum. Because of that, he recognizes cause as unnecessary, vain concept and expels it from field of historical studies.


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