Rethinking R. G. Collingwood reviews Collingwood's thought via his own rethinking of Hegel. It establishes the revisionary Hegelian character of Collingwood's defence of liberal civilization in theory and practice. Collingwood is seen as avoiding the pitfalls of Hegel's teleological historicism by developing an open and contestable reading of the rationality of liberal civilization, which neither reduces practice to theory nor philosophy to history. The pre-eminence of philosophy in Collingwood's early thought gives way to a view of experience in which the political defence of civilization arises from and sustains reflective theoretical activities. The contemporary relevance of Collingwood's standpoint is demonstrated by comparing it with those of recent defenders and critics of liberalism - Rawls, Lyotard and MacIntyre. Collingwood is recognized to be both a thoughtful critic of aspects of liberalism, and a provider of a comprehensive justification of its practice.

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