Accessibility statement

Philosophy of History - PHI00021H

« Back to module search

  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Adam Timmins
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

This module introduces the philosophy of history of R.G. Collingwood, a 20th Century thinker broadly in the tradition of British Idealism, and the most important British philosopher of history.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

To introduce students to Collingwood's approach to historiography, historical knowledge and historical explanation.

Module learning outcomes

Students who diligently complete the module will:

  • Understand Collingwood’s distinctive approach to the nature of historiography and historical explanation. In particular: history as the study of human nature, and the ‘history of thought’; the nature of ‘scientific history’; Collingwood’s critique of ‘scissors and paste history’; history as reenactment, and the ‘logic of question and answer’.
  • Be able to engage in the debate between Collingwood and others about the nature of historical knowledge and as a result, better understand some philosophical issues arising in the study of history.
  • Be better equipped to make critical connections between philosophy and the writing of history.
  • Develop their skills in reading, writing, and group discussion.


Module content

This module is run as a reading group, so students should be prepared to actively contribute to our common understanding of Collingwood's work.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay (2500 Words)
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Summative assessment is due Week 1 of Spring Term.

Reassessment is during the summer resit period


Task Length % of module mark
Essay (2500 Words)
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on formative work will be provided by the end of term. Feedback on summative work will be provided within four teaching weeks of submission.

Indicative reading

Extracts from Collingwood's work will be provided in a reading pack. However, copyright rules prevent us providing all the relevant readings in this way, so students will have to consult library copies of some works, notably:

Collingwood, R.G. (1994) The Idea of History (revised edition, ed. van der Dussen)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.