Michael Oakeshott has long been recognized as one of the most important political philosophers of the twentieth century, but until now no single volume has been able to examine all the facets of his wide-ranging philosophy with sufficient depth, expertise, and authority. The essays collected here cover all aspects of Oakeshott’s thought, from his theory of knowledge and philosophies of history, religion, art, and education to his reflections on morality, politics, and law. The volume provides an authoritative and synoptic guide (...) to one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century. (shrink)
This book survives superficial but fails deeper scrutiny. A facile, undiscerning criticism of Lectures in the History of Political Thought (LHPT) is that on Oakeshott’s own account these are lectures on a non-subject: ‘I cannot detect anything which could properly correspond to the expression “the history of political thought”’ (p. 32). This is an entirely typical Oakeshottian swipe – elegant and oblique – at the title of the lecture course he inherited from Harold Laski. If title and quotation sit awkwardly (...) we should remember that Oakeshott never prepared the text for publication – a fortiori he did not prepare it for publication under this title. Moreover, for Oakeshott the compound notion of ‘political thought’ does not denote much either (pp. 33–4). A positive characterization can, however, be made for the notion of ‘political experience’ or ‘intellectual organization’ (p. 42), a particular context-bound agglomeration ‘of sentiments, beliefs, habits of thought, aspirations and ideas’ (pp. 43, 45, 391, 393). This notion, with its enumeration and specification into Greek, Roman, medieval and modern political experience, structures the 32 lectures that comprise the book. Oakeshott’s notion of political experience has deep affinities (at least) with the style of political analysis followed by the Cambridge classicist, F.E. Adcock, in Roman Political Ideas and Practice (1964), a text surely not fortuitously included in the course reading-list for the original lectures. (shrink)
This brief article introduces a symposium discussing the extended mind thesis and its suggestive relation to religious thought. Essays by Mark Rowlands, Lynne Rudder Baker, Teed Rockwell, Joel Krueger, Leonard Angel, and Matthew Day present a variety of perspectives.
No longer is sociality the preserve of the social sciences, or ‘‘culture’’ the preserve of the humanities or anthropology. By the same token, cognition is no longer the sole preserve of the cognitive sciences. Social cognition (SC) or, sociocognition if you like, is thus a kaleidoscope of research projects that has seen exponential growth over the past 30 or so years.
To know is to cognize, to cognize is to be a culturally bounded, rationality-bounded and environmentally located agent. Knowledge and cognition are thus dual aspects of human sociality. If social epistemology has the formation, acquisition, mediation, transmission and dissemination of knowledge in complex communities of knowers as its subject matter, then its third party character is essentially stigmergic. In its most generic formulation, stigmergy is the phenomenon of indirect communication mediated by modifications of the environment. Extending this notion one might (...) conceive of social stigmergy as the extra-cranial analog of an artifcial neural network providing epistemic structure. This paper recommends a stigmergic framework for social epistemology to account for the supposed tension between individual action, wants and beliefs and the social corpora. We also propose that the so-called "extended mind" thesis offers the requisite stigmergic cognitive analog to stigmergic knowledge. Stigmergy as a theory of interaction within complex systems theory is illustrated through an example that runs on a particle swarm optimization algorithm. (shrink)
This paper introduces a symposium discussing Michael Oakeshott's understanding of the relationship of religion, science and politics. Essays by Elizabeth Corey, Timothy Fuller, Byron Kaldis, and Corey Abel are followed by a review of Corey's recent book by Efraim Podoksik.
This article introduces the work of philosopher-novelist Walker Percy to the Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science readership. After some biographical and contextual preliminaries, I suggest that the conceptual collecting feature to Percy's work is his critique of abstractionism manifest in a tripartite congruence of Cartesianism, derivatively misapplied science, and social atomism.