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Oakeshott on Law

Going all the way back to his early essay “The Concept of a Philosophical Jurisprudence,” Oakeshott always saw an intimate connection between political philosophy and the philosophy of law. Steven Gerencser subjects Oakeshott’s philosophy of law to careful analysis in his essay “Oakeshott on Law.” He argues that there is a fundamental tension between the…

Oakeshott on Civil Association

In “Oakeshott on Civil Association,” Noël O’Sullivan offers a magisterial account of Oakeshott’s ideal of civil association, showing that it is addressed above all to the moral problem of reconciling authority with freedom in the highly pluralistic circumstances of modern Europe. Hobbes made significant progress in this normative endeavor to find a shared sense of…

Oakeshott as Conservative

The topic of Oakeshott’s conservatism is a contentious one, as Robert Devigne shows in his essay “Oakeshott as Conservative.” Using Burke as a touchstone, Devigne demonstrates that Oakeshott’s conservatism is complex and shifts over time. In his essays from the late 1940s and early 1950s, Oakeshott displays a Burkean antipathy toward rationalism and appreciation for…

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…

The Fate of Rationalism in Oakeshott’s Thought

Oakeshott’s critique of rationalism is taken up in greater depth in Kenneth Minogue’s essay “The Fate of Rationalism in Oakeshott’s Thought.” Minogue, Oakeshott’s longtime colleague at the LSE, focuses his analysis on the posthumously published manuscript The Politics of Faith and the Politics of Scepticism, believed to have been written somewhere around 1952. This manuscript…

Oakeshott and Hobbes

Oakeshott’s interpretation of Hobbes is the central subject of Noel Malcolm’s essay “Oakeshott and Hobbes.” Malcolm notices that there seems to be a discrepancy between Oakeshott’s hostility to rationalism, on the one hand, and his admiration for Hobbes, an archetypal rationalist if ever there was one, on the other. In the first instance, Oakeshott seems…