Marsh on Oakeshott and Ryle

Gilbert Ryle was one contemporary philosopher for whom Oakeshott had a good deal of respect; in his review of Ryle’s book The Concept of Mind he called the book “a piece of philosophical writing in the highest class” as well as a “classic” – which, in Oakeshott’s usage, must put the book in the same class as Plato’s Republic, Hobbes’s Leviathan and Hegel’s Philosophy of Right.

Commentators have long detected some similarity between Oakeshott’s thoughts on the distinction between theoretical and practical knowledge and Ryle’s distinction between “knowing how” and “knowing that”.

Now (or, strictly speaking, a couple of months ago) MOA founder and keen epistemologist Leslie Marsh has posted on his blog sections of his own evaluation of “Ryle and Oakeshott on the knowing-how/knowing-that distinction“.

The paper is the fruit of much reflection and re-writing; Leslie presented one version of it at the 2006 M.O.A conference. The complete text will be published the old fashioned way, but this online sample will at least give you a taste of what you can expect.