Volume 61, Issue 3, September 2021
S. K. Wertz
Collingwood and the Nature of Consciousness
This essay touches on the following topics: imagination, caprice, relative and absolute presuppositions, language, knowledge, moral and aesthetic values, art, evolution, and dreams. Collingwood distinguished between pre-reflective and reflective consciousness and identified four features of consciousness: forms (simple or primitive, practical, and theoretical or specialized), objects, feelings, and selective attention or focus. He also spoke of the corruption of consciousness that psychologists of his day called repression. This is a way in which we can falsify consciousness that can lead to inauthentic thinking and to error. The phenomenological description of these processes that he gave us is a promising over-all account. This essay also utilizes some of the contemporary literature on consciousness to draw comparisons and contrasts with Collingwood’s account. As a historical note, it offers some parallels between Leibniz and Collingwood on attention, awareness, and consciousness.