Review by Choice Review
This is the first of two companions to appear this year explicating and assessing the thought of the 20th-century English political philosopher Michael Oakeshott (1901-90), testimony to the increasing awareness of, and interest in, his work. Oakeshott's major works include Experience and Its Modes (1933), Rationalism in Politics (1962), and On Human Conduct (1975), as well as some commentary on the thought of Thomas Hobbes. Podoksiks's companion includes 14 essays addressing Oakeshott's views on philosophy, science, history, politics, morality, and aesthetics. The essays are of uneven utility, depending generally on the extent and duration of the individual contributor's familiarity with Oakeshott's work. Even readers not enamored of the Cambridge approach to explaining a thinker's thought by situating it in a specific historical and intellectual context will find informative and useful the detailed attempts by Podoksik (Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) and David Boucher to situate Oakeshott's work within German and British philosophical idealism, in particular Podoksik's provocative argument that Oakeshott be viewed first as a German philosopher and Boucher's argument that Oakeshott be viewed as remaining within the tradition of British absolute idealism. Oakeshott's use of ancient Chinese philosophy in his critique of rationalism in politics and morals is omitted. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. W. J. Coats Connecticut College
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