By T. Nardin
During this e-book, prime students from East Asia and past debate Michael Oakeshott's perspectives on liberal democracy and totalitarianism and their implications for East Asia at the present time. His principles on rationality in politics, the character of liberal democracy, and the way democracy can defeat anti-liberal politics are explored in ten penetrating essays.
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Extra resources for Michael Oakeshott’s Cold War Liberalism
But each of these is either a presupposition or a possible contingent consequence of civil association, not a substantive purpose. The freedom in civil association, for example, arises because its rules prescribe neither purposes, actions, nor motives; they exclude only the freedom to choose one’s own obligations. ”11 To assess this argument we can turn to Kant. For Kant, the purpose of law is not to promote happiness by preventing harm or satisfying wants. These are substantive ends and pursuing them belongs to private persons, not the state.
Oakeshott as a Philosopher If Oakeshott is important today, it is as a philosopher, not as a participant in political debates of the twentieth century. Oakeshott’s most important philosophical ideas are those of modality, contingency, and civility. The first of these, modality, is the idea that human activity and its intellectual products can be understood in relation to kinds of inquiry and understanding that are not only distinct but are not reducible to one another. Each is a self-subsistent world of ideas providing its own criteria of factuality, truth, and reality.
9. , 201; Oakeshott, Politics of Faith, 94. 10. Oakeshott, On Human Conduct, 153n, 293. 11. Michael Oakeshott, On History and Other Essays (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983), 161. 12. Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals, Academy edition 6:231; in Practical Philosophy, trans. Mary J. Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 388. 13. Michael Oakeshott, Morality and Politics in Modern Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), 62; Michael Oakeshott, Lectures in the History of Political Thought, ed.
Michael Oakeshott’s Cold War Liberalism by T. Nardin