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Sceptical politics and idealistic historiography: Michael Oakeshott as a critic of Enlightenment positions.

Tseng, Kuo-Shiang Roy (1998) Sceptical politics and idealistic historiography: Michael Oakeshott as a critic of Enlightenment positions. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The purpose of this thesis is to interpret Michael Oakeshott as a critic of Enlightenment positions. In so doing, the author's ambition is to go some way to fulfilling the lacuna in Oakeshott studies by concentrating on his notion of philosophy. Having introduced my project of study in the opening chapter, I begin chapter two with an examination of philosophical modernism in order to allude to the Enlightenment positions concerned: foundationalism in philosophy, formalism in ethics and naturalism in history. In the following chapters I turn to cope with Oakeshott's reflection upon philosophical modernity, liberal ethics and positivist historiography respectively. It is my view that Oakeshott's critique of philosophisme and Rationalism expresses a sense of the crisis of philosophical modernity and throughout his intellectual career he has never altered his analysis of these two themes: philosophy as the persistent re-establishment of completeness by transcending abstractness, and the modes of experience as self-consistent worlds of discourse. To apply this philosophy, in his moral and political writings Oakeshott has re-established a balance against the Enlightenment ethical position: "the sovereignty of technique", "demonstrative moral truth", "the politics of faith", or "enterprise association", by revitalising the importance of "traditional knowledge", "conversationally traditional intimation", "the politics of scepticism" or "civil association". Oakeshott is not a doctrinal liberal any more than a dogmatic conservative, but a sceptical philosopher who is the victim of thought. Moreover, Oakeshott's contribution to history not only lies in his effort to transcend the Enlightenment historiographical position by separating the historical from the naturalised conception of History on which the so-called "scientific history" rests, but also in his idealistic solution for the "temporal dilemma in history" and the "epistemic tension in history" that have long bothered philosophers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Philosophy, Ethics
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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