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This paper contends thatMichael Oakeshott's analogy of conversation conveys a conception of philosophy that can be connected with 'philosophical criticism', as interpreted by British Idealists such as Andrew Seth and Edward Caird. Firstly, my claim is that Oakeshott's notion of philosophical definition is animated by a dialectical 'refutation' of current ideas, articulated in the logical study of their presuppositions. Moreover, I show that this critical idea of philosophy is expressed through a re-interpretation of the Socratic Method that can be compared to that of other Idealists. By means of an examination of textual evidence, I stress the consistency of this perspective throughout all Oakeshott's career. Secondly, I consider the image of conversation as an answer to the Idealist question about the possibility of the unity of knowledge. At the outset, I highlight that Oakeshott's position can be juxtaposed to the critiques of Modern philosophy and science paradigmatically put forward by Edward Caird and R.G. Collingwood. I argue that 'conversation' is consistent with Oakeshott's conception of modality, which is a critique both of the possibility of a final synthesis between different forms of understanding and of all reductionisms. Therefore, I analyze the theoretical foundations of this conception, which I have identified with the nature of postulates, the unity ofmind, and the non-propositional character of judgments. In the conclusion, I suggest that this reading has implications for a broader understanding of Oakeshott's Idealism, of his political theory and of the debate with Analytic philosophy
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Oakeshott on Practice, Normative Thought and Political Philosophy.Davide Orsi - 2015 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (3):545-568.

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