Leon Goldstein’s critical philosophy of history has suffered a relative lack of attention, but it is the outcome of an unusual story. He reached conclusions about the autonomy of the discipline of history similar to those of R. G. Collingwood and Michael Oakeshott, but he did so from within the Anglo-American analytic style of philosophy that had little tradition of discussing such matters. Initially, Goldstein attempted to apply a positivistic epistemology derived from Hempel’s philosophy of natural science to historical knowledge, (...) but gradually formulated an anti-realistic epistemology that firmly distinguished historical knowledge of the past not only from the scientific perspective but also from fictional and common-sense attitudes to the past. Among his achievements were theories of the distinctive nature of historical evidence and historical propositions, of the constructed character of historical events, and of the relationship between historical research and contemporary culture. Taken together, his ideas merit inclusion among the most important twentieth-century contributions to the problem of historical knowledge. (shrink)
This twelfth volume of Correspondence contains authoritative and fully annotated texts of all known letters sent both to and from Bentham between July 1824 and June 1828. The 301 letters, most of which have never before been published, have been collected from archives, public and private, in Britain, the United States of America, Switzerland, France, Japan, and elsewhere, as well as from the major collections of Bentham Papers at University College London Library and the British Library.In mid-1824 Bentham was still (...) preoccupied with the Greek struggle for independence against Turkey, though his active involvement waned as he became disenchanted with the behaviour of the deputies sent to London by the Greek National Assembly. His international reputation was reflected in his continuing contact with Simón Bolívar and Bernardino Rivadavia in South America, and with John Quincy Adams, John Neal, Henry Wheaton, and others in the United States, and his forging of new contacts in Guatemala, India, and Egypt. In the autumn of 1825 he visited France, where he stayed with Jean Baptiste Say and La Fayette, and was fêted by the French liberals.Bentham made considerable progress drafting material for his pannomion, or complete code of laws, and in particular for his Constitutional and Procedure Codes, while John Stuart Mill edited the massive Rationale of Judicial Evidence. Bentham became increasingly active in the cause of law reform, and exchanged a series of letters on the subject with Robert Peel, the Home Secretary, and Henry Brougham. He maintained his friendships with John and Sarah Austin, George and Harriet Grote, James and John Stuart Mill, John Bowring, Joseph Hume, Francis Burdett, Francis Place, and Joseph Parkes, re-established contact with the third Marquis of Lansdowne, son of his old friend the first Marquis, and made new acquaintances in James Humphreys, Sutton Sharpe, and Albany Fonblanque. (shrink)
Oakeshott’s memorable lectures on the history of political thought, delivered each year at the London School of Economics, will now be available in print for the first time as Volume II of his Selected Writings. Based on manuscripts in the LSE archive for 1966–67, the last year of Oakeshott’s tenure as Professor of Political Science, these thirty lectures deal with Greek, Roman, mediaeval, and modern European political thought in a uniquely accessible manner. Scholars familiar with Oakeshott’s work will recognize his (...) own ideas subtly blended with an exposition carefully crafted for an undergraduate audience; those discovering Oakeshott for the first time will find an account of the subject that remains illuminating and provocative. (shrink)
Michael Oakeshott made his reputation as a political philosopher, but for a long time it seemed as if he had little interest in politics before 1945. His major pre-war work, Experience and its Modes was an examination of the nature of philosophy and its relation to other forms of thought that made almost no mention of politics. However, it has become increasingly clear that this initial judgment was misleading. A posthumous collection of early essays, Religion, Politics, and the Moral Life, (...) proved that political philosophy was a lifelong concern. Nevertheless, the belief that Oakeshott was relatively uninterested in politics, at least in the 1920s, has persisted. This volume dispels that notion for good. It contains two previously unpublished works, a manuscript entitled 'A Discussion of some Matters preliminary to the Study of Political Philosophy', and the first version of a course of lectures on 'The Philosophical Approach to Politics' that Oakeshott gave between 1928 and 1930. These works establish that politics was a central concern in the first decade of his intellectual career, and show beyond any doubt that the ideas of Experience and its Modes actually grew out of Oakeshott's prior philosophical interest in politics. (shrink)
From the 1920s to the 1980s Oakeshott filled dozens of notebooks with his private reflections, both personal and intellectual. Their contents range from aphorisms to miniature essays, forming a unique record of his intellectual trajectory over his entire career. This volume makes them accessible in print for the first time, drawing together a host of his previously inaccessible observations on politics, philosophy, art, education, and much else besides. Religion in particular emerges as an ongoing concern for him in a way (...) that is not visible from his published works. The notebooks also provide a unique source of insight into Oakeshott's musings on life, thanks to the hitherto unsuspected existence of the series of 'Belle Dame’ notebooks that were written in the late 1920s and early 1930s but which only came to light two decades after his death. At the same period in which he was developing the concepts that would form Experience and its Modes, Oakeshott’s personal life lead him to reflect extensively on love and death, themes that highlight his enduring romantic affinities. Accompanied by an original editorial introduction, the volume allows readers to see for themselves exactly which works Oakeshott used in compiling each of his notebooks, providing a much clearer record of his intellectual influences than has previously been available. It will be an essential addition to the library of his works for all those interested in his ideas. (shrink)
Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher and reformer, was at the height of his fame and influence in the 1820s. The 301 letters in this volume, many of which are previously unpublished, contain correspondence with international leaders such as Simn Bolvar, the 'Liberator', and Bernardino Rivadavia of Buenos Aires, British statesmen such as Robert Peel and Henry Brougham, and leading intellectuals such as John Stuart Mill and Sarah Austin.
Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher and reformer, was at the height of his fame and influence in the 1820s. The 301 letters in this volume, many of which are previously unpublished, contain correspondence with international leaders such as Simón Bolívar, the 'Liberator', and Bernardino Rivadavia of Buenos Aires, British statesmen such as Robert Peel and Henry Brougham, and leading intellectuals such as John Stuart Mill and Sarah Austin.
The Vocabulary of a Modern European State is the companion volume to The Concept of a Philosophical Jurisprudence and completes the enterprise of gathering together Oakeshott’s previously scattered essays and reviews. As with all the other volumes in the series it contains an entirely new editorial introduction explaining how the writings it contains find their place in his work as a whole. It covers the years 1952 to 1988, the period during which Oakeshott wrote his definitive work, On Human Conduct. (...) The essay from which the volume takes its title was intended as a companion piece to the third part of the latter work, and is just one of over sixty pieces that it includes. The volume draws together critical responses to works by major philosophers, historians, and political theorists of his own generation such as Bertrand de Jouvenel, Herbert Marcuse, and Michael Polanyi as well as to some major figures of current scholarship such as Quentin Skinner and Roger Scruton. (shrink)
This highly readable new collection of thirty pieces by Michael Oakeshott, almost all of which are previously unpublished, covers every decade of his intellectual career, and adds significantly to his contributions to the philosophy of historical understanding and political philosophy, as well as to the philosophy of education and aesthetics. The essays were intended mostly for lectures or seminars, and are consequently in an informal style that will be accessible to new readers as well as to those already well acquainted (...) with Oakeshott’s works.Early pieces include a long essay ‘On the Relations of Philosophy, Poetry, and Reality’, and Oakeshott’s comments on ‘The Cambridge School of Political Science’ through which he himself had passed as an undergraduate. The collection also reproduces a substantial wartime essay ‘On Peace with Germany’. There are two new essays on the philosophy of education, and the essay which gives the work its title, ‘What is History?’, is just one of over half a dozen discussions of the nature of historical knowledge. Oakeshott’s later sceptical, ‘hermeneutic’, thought is also well represented by pieces such as ‘What is Political Theory?’ and ‘The Emergence of the History of Thought.’ Reviews of books by English and European contemporaries such as Butterfield, Hayek, Voegelin, and Arendt also help to place him in context more clearly than before.The book will be indispensable for all Oakeshott’s readers, no matter which area of his thought concerns them most. (shrink)
SummaryThe term ‘category mistake’ began to turn up regularly in public discourse in the 1990s as a general term to describe a confusion between different fields of thought with serious practical consequences. But it began its career in philosophy, introduced by Gilbert Ryle in The Concept of Mind in 1949 to attack Cartesian dualism and assert a monistic solution to the so-called mind-body problem. This paper traces the stages by which it came into general usage, arguing that while by the (...) later 1960s it had generally been rejected by philosophers, it was saved from disappearance by its migration into fields such as psychology and theology. From there, it moved into critical theory and then into international relations. Its entry into these latter areas first made plain its potential in political argument. Eventually, multiple meanings of the term came to coexist with one another, with the practical and rhetorical usage supplementing rather than replacing its original philosophical sense. (shrink)
What are the relationships between doubt and truth, thinking and writing in Montaigne’s Essais? We usually see Montaigne’s doubt through the lens of ancient schools of Scepticism and yet he notes that the Pyrrhonians ‘ne peuvent exprimer leur generale conception en aucune maniere de parler’: these philosophers describe their doubtful thought in negative affirmations but these are affirmations – ‘propositions affirmatives’ – all the same. This thesis approaches Montaigne’s doubt differently: I investigate the Essais not as an attempt to indicate (...) or describe doubtful, ‘double et divers’ thought but as a tool for thinking doubtfully in writing. Montaigne’s literary use of language is therefore central to my analysis. Irony, ambiguity, the practices of rewriting and overwriting, the ‘polyphony’ of cited authors who advocate different positions: these afford ways of thinking that sustain duality and doubt. I focus on Montaigne’s engagement with Seneca and Plutarch, ancient authors who are, superficially, unrelated to doubt: the Essais constitute a particular form of humanistic engagement with ancient texts, concerned with practices and forms of writing as much as, if not more than, with philosophical concepts. These ‘dogmatic’ authors – they defend philosophical positions of certainty – were, counter-intuitively, seen by Montaigne to have a ‘forme d’escrire douteuse et irresolue’. This doubtful ‘forme’ shaped Montaigne’s own and it was, I argue, in working with and on these authors – reading, writing, and thinking with them – that he constructed a way of writing doubtful in both form and thought: a text that is double, unresolved, ambiguous, and yet ‘truthful’ in its capacity to perform and make legible the complex, multiple nature of his thought and his thinking. (shrink)
Abductive reasoning is central to reconstructing the past in the geosciences. This paper outlines the nature of the abductive method and restates it in Bayesian terms. Evidence plays a key role in this working method and, in particular, traces of the past are important in this explanatory framework. Traces, whether singularly or as groups, are interpreted within the context of the event for which they have evidential claims. Traces are not considered as independent entities but rather as inter-related pieces of (...) information concerning the likelihood of specific events. Exemplification of the use of such traces is provided by dissecting an example of their use in the environmental reconstruction of mountain climate. (shrink)
This book challenges the common view that Michael Oakeshott was mainly important as a political philosopher by offering the first comprehensive study of his ideas on history. It argues that Oakeshott's writings on the philosophy of history mark him out as the most successful of the philosophers who attempted to establish historical study as an autonomous form of thought during the twentieth century. It also contends that his work on the history of political thought is best seen in the context (...) of debates over the origins of the liberal state. For the first time, extensive use has been made of unpublished material in the collection of Oakeshott's papers at the LSE, resulting in an intellectual biography that should be of interest both to first-time students and those already familiar with his published works. (shrink)
Some theorists have argued recently that Berlinian value pluralism points not to liberalism, as Berlin supposed, but, in effect, to some form of communitarianism. To what extent is this true, and, to the extent that it is true, what kind of communitarianism fits best with the pluralist outlook? I argue that pluralists should acknowledge community as an important source of value and as a substantial value in itself, but they should also be prepared to question traditions and to respect values (...) other than community. In particular, pluralism points to personal autonomy as playing a special role when we must choose among incommensurable goods in conflict. Consequently, the pluralist outlook is at odds with conservative communitarianisms that tend to place existing traditions beyond question, and with radical variants of communitarianism, such as Marxism and classical anarchism, which look forward to future communities in which the need to cope with hard public choices has largely been eliminated. Rather, Berlinian pluralism fits best with a liberal or moderate kind of communitarianism that balances community with other goods, especially personal autonomy. (shrink)
ABSTRACTLeon Goldstein's critical philosophy of history has suffered a relative lack of attention, but it is the outcome of an unusual story. He reached conclusions about the autonomy of the discipline of history similar to those of R. G. Collingwood and Michael Oakeshott, but he did so from within the Anglo‐American analytic style of philosophy that had little tradition of discussing such matters. Initially, Goldstein attempted to apply a positivistic epistemology derived from Hempel's philosophy of natural science to historical knowledge, (...) but gradually formulated an anti‐realistic epistemology that firmly distinguished historical knowledge of the past not only from the scientific perspective but also from fictional and common‐sense attitudes to the past. Among his achievements were theories of the distinctive nature of historical evidence and historical propositions, of the constructed character of historical events, and of the relationship between historical research and contemporary culture. Taken together, his ideas merit inclusion among the most important twentieth‐century contributions to the problem of historical knowledge. (shrink)