Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 52, 2018

Philosophy of History

Allison Merrick
Pages 41-46

The Eunuch Theory of History
Nietzsche and Collingwood on the Impartiality of Historians

In this paper I argue that Friedrich Nietzsche and R.G. Collingwood both offer a critique of the positivist mode of historiography. A historical methodology that they each garnish pejoratively, with the image of the eunuch. In the first two sections of the paper I argue that what appears upon first glance as a decorative metaphor contains the seeds out of which can grow a substantial philosophical problem. And the problem identified by both thinkers is one of historical methodology, of history ineffectually and incorrectly practiced. In the final section of the paper I offer a sketch of a mode of historiography that may sidestep such a worry.