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By Robin George Collingwood

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So, in spite of occasional remonstrances, that was how I found myself classified. I became used to it; otherwise I might have been too much annoyed to keep that rule against answering critics which every one must keep who has work of his own to do, when one of the 'realists' (not an Oxford man), reviewing the first book in which I tried to indicate my position, dismissed it in a few lines as 'the usual idealistic nonsense'. The book was Speculum Mentis, published in 1924. ' The position laid I Since writing that sentence, I have read Speculum Mentis for the first time since it was published, and find it much better than I remembered.

They were quite resigned to the contempt of fools and amateurs. If anybody differed from them on these points, it could only be because his intellect was weak br his motives bad. The latter end of the 'realist' movement is one of those things whose history will never be written. It is a story of how the men who best understood the ideas o f the original 'realists', and tried hardest to remain loyal to them, found one piece of ground after another slipping from under their feet, and stumbled from one temporary and patchwork philosophy to another in a kind of intellectual nightmare.

Failing that, a reader disinclined to work the problem out for himself will naturally assume the criticism to be sound or unsound according as he has found the critic to be, in a general way, a good historian or a bad one. This enabled me to answer the question, left open (as I stated at the end of the preceding chapter) in 1914, whether the 'realists' ' critical methods were sound. The answer could only be that they were not. For the ' realists' ' chief, and in the last resort, it seemed to me, only method was to analyse the position criticized into various propositions, and detect contradictions between these.

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