Robin G. Collingwood's posited the existence of absolute presuppositions (AS). As a reminder, presuppositions are for Collingwood assumptions and guiding precepts that are closed to further analysis or revision (Collingwood 1940). He lists the AS scattered in his writings, so I'm curious to find as many of the the AP as possible. Many of them are in the Essay on Metaphysics. Have you come across others? here's the ones I found:

  • Every event is an instance of some universal law
  • All events have at least one sufficient cause
  • Something remains unchanged through change
  • unity or diversity of the ultimate constituents of matter
  • nature of causality
  • determinism or indeterminism
  • existence of a fundamental level of reality
  • the existence of God
  • mathematics is applicable to the natural world
  • all events happen according to law
  • nature is uniform


Collingwood, An Essay on Metaphysics

Claudia Ribeiro The complementarity of Science and Metaphysics

  • Fixed an interesting broken link
    – Rushi
    Commented Feb 19 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


One possible addition to your list is :

Absolute Presuppositions Presuppose Nothing.

'The question 'What does this presuppose ? ' itself presupposes an affirmative answer to the question 'Does it presuppose anything ? '; and to ask that question is to contemplate the possibility of the thing's being an absolute presupposition, and to claim that you would know it for one if it was one' (Essay on Metaphysics, Oxford : OUP, 40.)

Quoted in John E. Llewelyn, 'Collingwood's Doctrine of Absolute Presuppositions', The Philosophical Quarterly (1950-), Vol. 11, No. 42 (Jan., 1961), pp. 49-60 : 58.

  • Thanks for the restoration Geoffrey! Given the scientism oriented guff dominating nowadays, things like absolute presuppositions are important as a reminder that all human endeavour rests on metaphysical presuppositions, science included
    – Rushi
    Commented Feb 20 at 9:56

To claim that absolute presuppositions presuppose nothing is nonsensical. Thought nor theory is even possible apart from presupposing something. Existence exists is the first and primary metaphysical hinge upon which all thought and theory must revolve. Existence exists is primary and the metaphysical axis upon which all theoretics must turn by logical and metaphysical necessity of thought itself.

  • Looking over my answer, I am dissatisfied with it. Accordingly I have deleted it.
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Commented Jan 30, 2022 at 14:56
  • 3
    The question was not asking for opinions on the idea, just for other examples in Collingwood's writings.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jan 30, 2022 at 15:12

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