A Companion to Michael Oakeshott

Here is the collection of newly commissioned essays edited by Paul Franco and Leslie Marsh forthcoming from Penn State University Press.

1. Editorial Introduction (Paul Franco & Leslie Marsh)

The editors give an overview of the importance of Oakeshott to 20th Century philosophy and account for the abiding interest in Oakeshott’s work.

2. The Pursuit of Intimacy, or Rationalism in Love (Robert Grant)

An account of Oakeshott’s life and times designed to introduce readers to the flesh and blood man.

3. The Victim of Thought: The Idealist Inheritance (David Boucher)

A discussion of Oakeshott’s idealist theory of knowledge and metaphysics in relation to Hegel and British Idealism.

4. Philosophy and its Moods: Oakeshott on the Practice of Philosophy (Kenneth McIntyre)

Oakeshott on philosophical method.

5. Michael Oakeshott’s Philosophy of History (Geoffrey Thomas)

A critical exposition of Oakeshott’s philosophy of history, one of the most important aspects of Oakeshott’s philosophy and often considered to be one of the most profound treatments of historical knowledge in the 20th century.

6. Radical Temporality and the Modern Moral Imagination: Two Themes in the Thought of Michael Oakeshott (Timothy Fuller)

An analysis of Oakeshott’s concept of philosophy as it developed over the course of his career and especially as it relates to political philosophy.

7. The Religious Sensibility of Michael Oakeshott (Elizabeth Corey)

Oakeshott wrote extensively on religion and theology from the 1920s right through to the 1970s. Only now is this aspect of Oakeshott attracting attention.

8. Whatever It Turns Out To Be: Oakeshott on Aesthetic Experience (Corey Abel)

A discussion of Oakeshott’s philosophy of art, especially in connection with his important essay “The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind”.

9. Un Début dans la Vie Humaine: Michael Oakeshott on Education (Paul Franco)

Oakeshott’s philosophy of education is gaining more and more prominence as a classic defence of a liberal arts education while simultaneously being a critique of instrumentalist education.

10. Michael Oakeshott on the History of Political Thought (Martyn Thompson)

Oakeshott’s legendary lectures on the history of political thought, delivered at the LSE in the 1950s and ‘60s, have recently been published. The question of how to write the history of political thought was an abiding concern of Oakeshott’s and links him to other contemporaries such as Leo Strauss, J.G.A. Pocock, and Quentin Skinner.

11. Oakeshott and Hobbes (Noël Malcolm)

Oakeshott’s interpretation of Hobbes as the preeminent philosopher of the political theory of individuality is generally regarded as one of the most important contributions to Hobbes scholarship in the 20th century.

12. The Fate of Rationalism in Oakeshott’s Thought  (Kenneth Minogue)

A critical analysis of this best-known aspect of Oakeshott’s political philosophy, which bears comparison with other postwar critiques of central planning and utopian thinking by Berlin, Hayek, Popper, and Polanyi.

13. Oakeshott and Hayek: Situating the Mind (Leslie Marsh)

Oakeshott and Hayek contemporaneously presented the two major and most sustained critiques of rationalism. Conceived as social epistemologists, a contrastive and critical picture is drawn.

14. Oakeshott as Conservative (Robert Devigne)

Oakeshott is generally regarded as one of the most important conservative thinkers of the second half of the 20th century. This essay presents a critical analysis of his distinctive and skeptical brand of conservatism with comparisons to other 20th-century conservatisms.

15. Oakeshott on Civil Association (Noël O’Sullivan)

Civil association, defined in opposition to purposive or enterprise association, is the central concept of Oakeshott’s most highly developed statement of his political philosophy set out in his magnum opus On Human Conduct.

16. Oakeshott on Law (Steven Gerencser)

This is one of the most neglected aspects of Oakeshott. The rule of law is a vital to Oakeshott’s conception of the liberal (civil) state.