Collingwoodian Reflections on the Biographical Self

  • James Connelly


Does biography require a particular conception of the self? A biographer needs a sense of the subject’s self-understanding and projects and needs to avoid one-sided interpretation of their later self in the light of their earlier self; in autobiography the problem tends to be reversed. The subject of a biography has created a self; the biographer has to posit a self with projects, hopes and self-understanding. In biography there is a danger of assuming a determinate individual self rather than a social self in dialectical relation with society. Finally, we consider how far we can employ the notion of character to explain actions and consider the question of the validity of attributing ‘character’ to an agent in explaining intention, motive or action.


Historical Knowledge Hermeneutic Circle Dialectical Relation Historical Imagination Archaeological Society 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Connelly
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HullHullUK

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