Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotation

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiii

My book constitutes an exploration of the metaphysical-epistemological underside of Michael Oakeshott’s skepticism—and it applies its reading of that to all areas of Oakeshott’s philosophy. On the surface, it would appear that...

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CHAPTER 1. Introduction: Epistemological Backdrop

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pp. 1-28

Michael Oakeshott’s most consistent self-description was that he was a skeptic. Skepticism represents from earliest times the counterassertiveness of human reason against the “givenness” of the world. In response to the age-old question...

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CHAPTER 2. Metaphysics

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pp. 29-48

There is a stylistic paradox about Oakeshott that matches a key substantive paradox of his thought. Though he wrote primarily in the essay form—even his longer works often read like ensembles of self-contained essays—he addressed...

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CHAPTER 3. Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Science

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pp. 49-116

Oakeshott’s philosophy of religion as he develops it in brief compass in his writings supports the attribution to him of the position of a generalized agnosticism. Nowhere does Oakeshott impugn the idea of a deity. His perspective on...

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CHAPTER 4. Political Theory

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pp. 117-131

As we move into a discussion of Oakeshott’s political theory, we need to realize that part of the attraction that a liberal society holds for him is that it institutionalizes better than any other form of state the mysticism of everyday...

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CHAPTER 5. Philosophy of Conversation and Philosophy of Personal Identity

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pp. 132-193

Oakeshott’s philosophy of conversation, which denigrates the possibility of achieving moments of such triumphant incandescence that they bring conversation itself to a close, clearly belongs to the same family of terms as...

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CHAPTER 6. Philosophy of Law and Philosophy of History

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pp. 194-222

Oakeshott’s philosophies of law and history also exemplify the generalized agnosticism that is the philosophical doctrinal equivalent to the diminished self-consciousness integral to Oakeshott’s conception of a well-ordered morality...

Notes

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pp. 223-240

Index

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pp. 241-250