The Politics and Philosophy of Michael Oakeshott

Routledge (2006)

This book follows the slowly developing body of literature that has been published over the last decade or so following Oakeshott's death. Here Oakeshott's theory is set within the tradition of Idealist philosophy from which it comes (particular attention has been given to Bradley who is often acknowledged as a major influence on Oakeshott but who's impact has generally not been explored). It is also shown how his work relates to contemporary political philosophy (for example, Arendt, Rorty, Rawls). Moreover, it links to broader debates within philosophy and the social sciences (a chapter is devoted to a comparison with Wittgenstein) and, building upon the work of Devigne, to postmodernism (exploring Oakeshott in relation to Derrida and discourse theory). Overall it is argued that Oakeshott is a non-foundational thinker and, therefore, has much to associate his work with these debates. Yet he is not, of course, a post-structuralist and his work has a moral theory at its center that is often missing from "post-modern" accounts. This book draws together the disparate influences that have at various times been associated with Oakeshott's work. It does so by drawing from a number of essays which have been published posthumously. It refers to these works and other more well known texts ("Experience and Its Modes," "On Human Conduct," "Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays" etc.) to argue that one can make sense of the many dimensions of Oakeshott's work by placing a moral theory as central to his system of thought. The text also presents a number of criticisms of Oakeshott's philosophy, for example, by challenging his theory of modality and the distinction that he makes between theory and practice. All in all this book considers the recently published "lesser-known" essays as well as the latest secondary appraisals of Oakeshott's work, which sets his thought in the contemporary political environment of the twenty-first century
Keywords Political science Philosophy
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Call number JC257.O244.I72 2006
ISBN(s) 0415396336
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