Oakeshott and Hayek: Situating the Mind

The theme of rationalism provides Leslie Marsh with the opportunity to compare Oakeshott with another important critic of rationalism, Friedrich Hayek, in his essay “Oakeshott and Hayek: Situating the Mind.” Invoking Oakeshott’s famous dismissal of Hayek in “Rationalism in Politics,” Marsh makes the case that Oakeshott got Hayek plain wrong. If one understands both men to be centrally concerned with the anti-Cartesian project of socializing the mind, then a more fertile vista opens up for comparing them. Marsh approaches the topic from the perspective of the philosophy of mind and locates both Oakeshott and Hayek within the non-Cartesian wing of contemporary cognitive science known as “situated cognition.” Marsh concludes his essay by showing that the commonality between Oakeshott and Hayek with respect to the theory of mind extends to their political philosophies as well, a fact that is often obscured by labeling the former thinker conservative and the latter liberal.

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