3 secondary sources from late 2010

The tail end of 2010 saw the publication of three new secondary sources about Oakeshott.

Oakeshott’s Skepticism

Princeton University Press brought out Aryeh Botwinick’s Michael Oakeshott’s Skepticism. According to the blurb on the publisher’s web site, “Botwinick presents an original account of Oakeshott’s skepticism about foundations, an account that newly reveals the unity of his thought.” In this account, Oakeshott’s skepticism appears as having been so thorough-going that it “even extended paradoxically to skepticism about skepticism itself “, and it was precisely his “rejection of all-embracing intellectual projects” that made him “a friend to liberal individualism”.

A few pages from Botwinick’s first chapter can be sampled at Amazon US, or the whole of the first chapter can be downloaded as a sample from the publisher’s web site.

Recent Scholarship

In Britain, Imprint Academic brought out Corey Abel’s (ed) The Meanings of Oakeshott’s Conservatism, which collects a host of recent papers about Oakeshott. This is the blurb (courtesy Leslie Marsh’s blog):

This collection of recent scholarship on the thought of Michael Oakeshott includes essays by distinguished and established authors as well as a fresh crop of younger talent, reflecting the sustained and ever growing interest in Oakeshott . Together, they address the meanings of Oakeshott’s conservatism through the lenses of his ideas on religion, history, and tradition, and explore his relationships to philosophers ranging from Hume to Ryle, Cavell, and others. Befitting the nuances of Oakeshott’s conception, the collection assigns no single or final meaning to his conservatism, but finds in him a number of possibilities for thinking fruitfully about what conservatism might mean, when it is no longer considered as a doctrine, but as a disposition.

A draft of one of the papers in the collection, Leslie Marsh’s “Ryle and Oakeshott on the ‘Knowing-How/Knowing-That’ Distinction”, is available at Scribd.

German Adventures

And last but not least, from Germany there came Pit Kapetanovic’s Intellektuelle Abenteuer: Philosophie, Geschichte und Erziehung bei Michael Oakeshott (rough English translation: Intellectual adventures: Philosophy, history and education with Michael Oakeshott). This is reportedly only the second German monograph on Oakeshott, based on a University of Heidelberg PhD thesis, and revolves around Oakeshott’s concern that the “conversation of mankind” was being spoiled by the dominance of practice, and his ideas about education in philosophy and history as a counterweight to practice.

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