Michael Oakeshott's Metaphysics of Experience through the Lens of American Pragmatism

Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 50 (4):581 (2014)
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In this paper I argue that Michael Oakeshott’s metaphysics of experience shares significant features with the pragmatism of C.S. Peirce and John Dewey and that these similarities highlight methodological norms guiding inquiry into philosophy’s value fields. Oakeshott, Peirce, and Dewey agree on (1) the primacy of experience in philosophical inquiry, (2) the dismissal of the capacity of intuition as a valid mode of experience contributing to a reliable epistemology, (3) a refusal of metaphysical dualism and a resulting continuity principle, and (4) consonant notions of the conditions and pattern of inquiry. This comparative analysis opens up new possibilities for prudently advancing the value fields in philosophy. Inquiry into legal, moral, and political philosophies, given the insights of Oakeshott, Peirce, and Dewey, can proceed prudently upon these shared premises and the skepticism of rationalism in politics, ethics, and law which ensues from them.



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Seth Vannatta
Morgan State University

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