Check out this symposium from a few years back.
Keywords: category error; creationist science; Stephen Jay Gould; ignoratio elenchi; modality; non-overlapping magisteria; Michael Oakeshott; politics; religion; science
Abstract. This paper introduces a symposium discussing Michael Oakeshott’s understanding of the relationship of religion, science and politics.
Keywords: British Idealism; modality; Michael Oakeshott; practical mode; practice; religion; George Santayana; Georg Simmel; Eric Voegelin
Abstract. Michael Oakeshott’s religious view of the world stands behind much of his political and philosophical writing. In this essay I first discuss Oakeshott’s view of religion and the mode of practice in his own terms. I attempt next to illuminate his idea of religion by describing it in less technical language, drawing upon other thinkers such as Georg Simmel and George Santayana, who share similar views. I then evaluate Oakeshott’s view as a whole, considering whether his ideas about religion can stand up to careful scrutiny and whether they have value for present-day reflection on religion.
OAKESHOTT ON THE CHARACTER OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE: NEED THERE BE A CONFLICT BETWEEN SCIENCE AND RELIGION? (pages 153–167)
Keywords: Christianity; experience unmodified; historical experience; modes of experience; practical experience; religious life; scientific experience; worldliness
Abstract. Michael Oakeshott reflected on the character of religious experience in various writings throughout his life. In Experience and Its Modes (1933) he analyzed science as a distinctive “mode,” or account of experience as a whole, identifying those assumptions necessary for science to achieve its coherent account of experience in contrast to other modes of experience whose quests for coherence depend on different assumptions. Religious experience, he thought, was integral to the practical mode. The latter experiences the world as interminable tension between what is and what ought to be. The question, Is there a conflict between science and religion? is, in Oakeshott’s approach, the question, Is there a conflict between the scientific mode of experience and the practical mode? Insofar as we tend to treat every question as a practical one, these questions seem to make sense. But Oakeshott’s analysis leads to the view that scientific experience and religious experience are categorically different accounts of experience abstracted from the whole of experience. They are voices of experience that may speak to each other, but they are not ordered hierarchically. Nor can either absorb the other without insoluble contradictions.
Keywords: definition; designation; ethics; holism; mode of experience; naturalism; naturalized epistemology; Michael Oakeshott; philosophy of science; religion; science
Abstract. I offer a critical exposition and reconstruction of Michael Oakeshott’s views on natural science. The principal aim is to enrich Oakeshott’s modal schema by throwing light on it in terms of its internal consistency and by bringing to bear on it recent developments in philosophy in general and the philosophy of science in particular. The discussion brings out the special place reserved for philosophy, the crucial tenet of the separateness of these modes seen as Leibnizian monads as well as the special status allowed to science. It considers the possibility of combining one moment of philosophical thinking, namely ethics, with science in the midst of such modal separateness. I first offer a general introduction of how to approach Oakeshott’s views on science. The next section stresses philosophy and its relation to science. This is followed by an elaboration of what the modes of experience are meant to be and how science is placed among them. An examination of Oakeshott’s more particular views on science concludes the essay.
Keywords: apology; Augustine; authority; Christianity; civil association; Francis Collins; conversation; Richard Dawkins; evolution; Stephen Jay Gould; history; mode; nonoverlapping magisteria; Michael Oakeshott; practical experience; religion; science; theism
Abstract. I examine Michael Oakeshott’s theory of modes of experience in light of today’s evolution debates and argue that in much of our current debate science and religion irrelevantly attack each other or, less commonly but still irrelevantly, seek out support from the other. An analysis of Oakeshott’s idea of religion finds links between his early holistic theory of the state, his individualistic account of religious sensibility, and his theory of political, moral, and religious authority. Such analysis shows that a modern individualistic theory of the state need not be barrenly secular and suggests that a religious sensibility need not be translated into an overmastering desire to use state power to pursue moral or spiritual ends in politics. Finally, Oakeshott’s vision of a civil conversation, as both a metaphor for Western civilization and as a quasi-ethical ideal, shows us how we might balance the recognition of diverse modal truths, the pursuit of singular religious or philosophic truth, and a free political order.