Michael Oakeshott On Religion, Aesthetics, And Politics by Elizabeth Campbell Corey
Robert Cheeks finds Elizabeth Campbell Corey’s analysis of Oakeshott’s philosophy to be all present and correct.
“I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man’s being unable to sit still in a room.”
Blaise Pascal, Pensees (1670)
What is so fascinating about the writings of the English philosopher Michael Oakeshott is his “continual protest” against modernity’s perception of man as amenable to a mechanical rather than a moral interpretation, his consequent view of the negation of man as an agent of truth, and his definition of the modern, therapeutic, managerial state as the ultimate sovereign (‘Leviathan’). Oakeshott directly challenges the doctrines of modernity, even critiquing the efficacy of its central tenet, ‘progress’. In his criticism one detects a religious component – a component that accedes to the idea of man as a material and spiritual creature capable of knowing a transcendent God. He also acknowledges the pre-political societies of family, church, and community and also the yearning for a political society “established by a determination of the noble, the good, and the just, which is expressed and then desired in reason.