William Herbert Dray

William Herbert Dray (23 June 1921, in Montreal 6 August 2009, in Toronto) was a Canadian philosopher of history. He was Professor Emeritus at the University of Ottawa.[1]

William H. Dray
Born(1921-06-23)23 June 1921
Montreal, Canada
Died6 August 2009(2009-08-06) (aged 87)
OccupationWriter, Philosopher, Professor
Alma materUniversity of Toronto (BA)
Oxford University (BA, MA, DPhil)

He is known for his version of anti-positivist Verstehen in history, in Laws and Explanation in History,[2] and his work on R. G. Collingwood.

Selected Publications

  • Dray, William H. "Laws and explanation in history." (1957).
  • Dray, William H. History as re-enactment: RG Collingwood's idea of history. Clarendon Press, 1999.
  • Dray, William H. "Philosophy of history." (1966).
  • Dray, William H. "Holism and individualism in history and social science." (1967).
  • Dray, William H. "On the nature and role of narrative in historiography." History and theory 10.2 (1971): 153-171.
  • Dray, William H. On history and philosophers of history. Vol. 2. Brill, 1989.


  1. Official page
  2. Michael Martin, Verstehen: The Uses of Understanding in the Social Sciences (2000), p. 103.


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