Person

Bruno Hamnell

Doctoral Student

  • Division of History of Ideas and Sciences
  • Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences

Contact information

E-mail bruno.hamnellkultur.luse

Room C:356

Visiting address
Helgonavägen 3, Lund

Postal address
Box 192, 221 00 Lund

Internal post code 30

PhD student in History of Ideas and Sciences since 2016. My dissertation, Two Quests for Unity, is a study of John Dewey's and R. G. Collingwood's thought in relation to philosophical idealism and political liberalism. My master’s thesis at Stockholm University studied debates on historical theory and epistemology among Swedish historians during the last fifty years. Previously, I have studied various cultural sciences and have written bachelor's dissertations in philosophy and comparative literature covering issues on identity, narration, trauma, memory, and the relationship between historiography and fiction.

Research

My profile in Lund University research portal

Abstract
My thesis studies the afterlife of idealism and the progressive new liberalism associated with it in the thought of the American philosopher John Dewey (1859-1952) and the English historian and philosopher Robin George Collingwood (1889-1943). I argue that the aim of Dewey’s and Collingwood’s thought should be understood as quests for unity and claim that these quests were answers to Collingwood’s and Dewey’s conception of the early twentieth century crisis. In response to the political and philosophical aspects of the crisis, they argued for the need of a practical conception of socially engaged philosophy committed to the new liberal notion of the common good.

The attempt to bring about unity of experience had been a central concern for idealist philosophy. Dewey and Collingwood inherited this idea and I claim that their quests for unity must be understood in relation to their common background in idealist philosophy. The political theory associated with British idealism and especially T. H. Green was also a central influence on Dewey’s and Collingwood’s quests. I aim to show that their political thought should be considered a continuation of Green’s attempt to put forward a version of liberalism concerned with social unity that attempted to break down the dichotomy between individual and society. Even as they (especially Dewey) grew increasingly sceptical of idealism, some of its key concepts and ideas remained important to Collingwood and Dewey through out their lives. Studying their thought in relation to idealism should therefore help us to better understand the afterlife of idealism as well as giving us a better understanding of inter-war era liberalism.

Keywords: John Dewey, Robin George Collingwood, liberalism, idealism, practical knowledge, intellectual history

Teaching

Other tasks and qualifications

Secretary for The Swedish Society for the History of Science and Ideas and webbmaster for the journal Lychnos.

Bruno Hamnell

Doctoral Student

  • Division of History of Ideas and Sciences
  • Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences

Contact information

E-mail bruno.hamnellkultur.luse

Room C:356

Visiting address
Helgonavägen 3, Lund

Postal address
Box 192, 221 00 Lund

Internal post code 30