Marsh’s challenge: Oakeshott’s Self-Contradiction
Constructivism and Relativism in Oakeshott is possibly the most critical paper about Oakeshott’s thought published in recent years. As usually seems to be the case with Leslie Marsh’s writing, the paper is the product of much thought and reflection; he trialled a version at the 2003 MOA Conference, and it was finally published 2 years later in Corey Abel and Timothy Fuller’s anthology The Intellectual Legacy of Michael Oakeshott. The potency of its challenge has not diminished in the intervening years.
Leslie’s challenge is directed at both Oakeshott’s philosophy and the Oakeshottian scholarly community. He says, inter alia:
The relativistic stance that informs [Oakeshott’s] radical constructivism gives license to socio-political conclusions we know Oakeshott could not possibly accept
Commentators can no longer absolve themselves of critically engaging with Oakeshott…Commentators’ haughty complicity with Oakeshott’s well-known lack of engagement with the philosophical establishment does Oakeshott no favors
Have any Oakeshottians risen to either side of Leslie’s challenge yet? If they have, then I would like to know about it. Those people with working accounts are welcome to login and comment; if you haven’t got a working account on this site, let me know via moa [dot] admin [at symbol] gmail.com