On Human Conduct is composed of three connected essays. Each has its own concern: the first with theoretical understanding, and with human conduct in general; the second with an ideal mode of human relationship which the author has called civil association; and the third with that ambiguous, historic association commonly called a modern European state. Running through the work is Professor Oakshott's belief in philosophical reflection as an adventure: the adventure of one who seeks to understand in other terms what (...) he already understands, and where the understanding is sought is a disclosure of the conditions of the understanding enjoyed and not a substitute for it. Its most appropriate expression is an essay, which, he writes, 'does not dissemble the conditionality of the conclusions it throws up and although it may enlighten it does not instruct.'. (shrink)
"Rationalism in Politics, " first published in 1962, has established the late Michael Oakeshott as the leading conservative political theorist in modern Britain. This expanded collection of essays astutely points out the limits of "reason" in rationalist politics.Oakeshott criticizes ideological schemes to reform society according to supposedly "scientific" or rationalistic principles that ignore the wealth and variety of human experience. "Rationalism in politics," says Oakeshott, "involves a misconception with regard to the nature of human knowledge." History has shown that it (...) produces unexpected, often disastrous results. "Having cut himself off from the traditional knowledge of his society, and denied the value of any education more extensive than a training in a technique of analysis," the Rationalist succeeds only in undermining the institutions that hold civilized society together. In this regard, rationalism in politics is "a corruption of the mind."Timothy Fuller is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College at Colorado College. (shrink)
This classic work is here published for the first time in paperback in recognition of its enduring importance. Its theme is Modality: human experience recognized as a variety of independent, self-consistent worlds of discourse, each the invention of human intelligence, but each also to be understood as abstract and an arrest in human experience. The theme is pursued in a consideration of the practical, the historical and the scientific modes of understanding.
'The religious man will inherit nothing he cannot possess by actual insight... in place of an ideal of steady acquisition for some ulterior end in which, perhaps, he can never share, he will follow one which values it solely by its worth to present insight. And he will maintain a kind of candid detachment in the face of the very highest actual achievement.' -from 'Religion and the World'.
This highly readable new collection of thirty pieces by Michael Oakeshott, almost all of which are previously unpublished, covers every decade of his intellectual career, and adds significantly to his contributions to the philosophy of historical understanding and political philosophy, as well as to the philosophy of education and aesthetics. The essays were intended mostly for lectures or seminars, and are consequently in an informal style that will be accessible to new readers as well as to those already well acquainted (...) with Oakeshott's works. Early pieces include a long essay ‘On the Relations of Philosophy, Poetry, and Reality', and Oakeshott’s comments on ‘The Cambridge School of Political Science’ through which he himself had passed as an undergraduate. The collection also reproduces a substantial wartime essay ‘On Peace with Germany’. There are two new essays on the philosophy of education, and the essay which gives the work its title, ‘What is History?’, is just one of over half a dozen discussions of the nature of historical knowledge. Oakeshott’s later sceptical, ‘hermeneutic’, thought is also well represented by pieces such as ‘What is Political Theory?’ and ‘The Emergence of the History of Thought.’ Reviews of books by English and European contemporaries such as Butterfield, Hayek, Voegelin, and Arendt also help to place him in context more clearly than before. The book will be indispensable for all Oakeshott’s readers, no matter which area of his thought concerns them most. (shrink)
When it first appeared in 1933, Experience and its Modes was not considered a classic. But as philosophical fashion moved away from the analytic philosophy of the 1930s, this work began to seem ahead of its time. Arguing that experience is 'modal', in the sense that we always have a theoretical or practical perspective on the world, Michael Oakeshott explores the nature of philosophical experience and its relationship to three of the most important 'modes' of non-philosophical experience - science, history (...) and practice - seeking to establish the autonomy and superiority of philosophy. In recognition of its enduring importance, this book is presented in a fresh series livery for a new generation of readers, featuring a specially commissioned preface written by Paul Franco. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes est le seul penseur de la tradition philosophique a qui le philosophe britannique Michael Oakeshott consacra entierement l'un de ses livres, un recueil d'essais et de conferences qu'il publia en 1975 sous le titre de Hobbes on Civil Association. A quoi tient l'importance decisive reconnue ainsi a l'oeuvre de Hobbes, et quel role particulier joua la pensee de Hobbes dans l'elaboration de la pensee de Oakeshott lui-meme? Le titre donne au recueil donne une indication precieuse. Tant d'un point (...) de vue philosophique que d'un point de vue historique, Oakeshott a en effet thematise a travers le concept d' association civile un mode d'association politique precis des hommes, celui dans lequel les individus sont lies par le respect de certaines regles et de certaines pratiques, mais non par une fin commune unique. C'est dans cette perspective que Oakeshott a pu opposer la nomocratie d'une societas a la teleocratie d'une universitas, c'est-a-dire d'un Etat qui se donnerait comme mission d'imposer un meme objectif a tous ses membres. La lecture que fait Oakeshott de Hobbes est ainsi tres clairement une lecture liberale: il comprend Hobbes comme un penseur du cadre formel d'une societas, et non pas d'une universitas, c'est-a-dire comme un penseur, precisement, de l' association civile. Afin de permettre l'evaluation d'une telle lecture, la traduction de l'ouvrage de Oakeshott, la premiere en langue francaise, est accompagnee de la traduction de cinq autres essais que l'auteur a consacres a Hobbes entre 1935 et 1974. (shrink)
Michael Oakeshott a contribué de manière décisive à la recherche sur Hobbes, sur l’historiographie et sur la pensée politique dans le monde moderne et contemporain. « Rationalism in Politics », que l’on trouvera ici dans la traduction d’Olivier Sedeyn, est l’un des textes les plus représentatifs de sa pensée et, cela vaut la peine d’être ajouté, de son style...
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Michael Oakeshott a contribué de manière décisive à la recherche sur Hobbes, sur l’historiographie et sur la pensée politique dans le monde moderne et contemporain. « Rationalism in Politics » , que l’on trouvera ici dans la traduction d’Olivier Sedeyn, est l’un des textes les plus représentatifs de sa pensée et, cela vaut la peine d’être ajouté, de son style..