Michael Oakeshottt: Selected Writings
  • Volume I, What is History? and other essays (ed. Luke O'Sullivan)
  • Volume II, Lectures in the History of Political Thought (ed. Terry Nardin and Luke O'Sullivan)
  • Volume III, The Concept of a Philosophical Jurisprudence: Essays and Reviews 1926-51, Edited by Luke O'Sullivan, ISBN 1845400305
  • Volume IV, The Vocabulary of a Modern European State: Essays and Reviews 1952-88, Edited by Luke O'Sullivan, ISBN 1845400313
  • Journal
  • Collingwood and British Idealism Studies: Incorporating Bradley Studies, edited by David Boucher, William Sweet, Andrew Vincent and Bruce Haddock. From Volume XI (2005), this journal will be published by Imprint Academic in two issues per annual volume. 
  • General idealist titles
  • Unpublished Manuscripts in British Idealism (ed. Colin Tyler)
  • The Intellectual Legacy of Michael Oakeshott (ed. Timothy Fuller and Corey Abel)
  • The Moral, Social and Political Philosophy of the British Idealists (ed. William Sweet)
  • The Scottish Idealists: Selected Philosophical Writings (ed. David Boucher)
  • John Gibbins, John Grote, Cambridge University and the Development of Victorian Thought
  • Idealist Biobliographies by Colin Tyler, Centre for Democratic Governance, Hull (scroll to bottom of page & download)
  • British Idealist Studies

    Imprint Academic is pleased to announce a new monograph series reflecting the renewed interest in the British idealist philosophers, comprising revised and updated PhD theses. All texts have undergone a rigorous peer review process and conventional copy editing.
  • Series 1: Oakeshott    Series 2: Collingwood   Series 3: Green
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  • Series 1: Oakeshott
    Editor: Noël O’Sullivan, University of Hull
    Editorial Board:
    Wendell John Coats Jr. (Connecticut)
    Richard Flathman (Johns Hopkins)
    Paul Franco (Bowdoin)
    Robert Grant (Glasgow)
    John Gray (European Institute, LSE)
    John Kekes (SUNY, Albany)
    Kenneth Minogue (LSE)
    Terry Nardin (Wisconsin)
    Lord Parekh (Hull)
    Patrick Riley (Harvard)

    Intimations Pursued: The Voice of Practice in the Conversation of Michael Oakeshott

    Andrew Sullivan

    In this book Andrew Sullivan examines Oakeshott’s transition from his original emphasis on philosophy as providing what was ultimately satisfactory in experience to his later emphasis on practical life. This satisfaction is best achieved by a fusion of the modes of poetry and practice, leading the author to examine Oakeshott’s view of religious life as the consummation of practice in its most poetic incarnation. The book also examines how the conception of practice is applied in Oakeshott’s political writings, focusing on the notion of civil association.

    Andrew Sullivan writes regularly for the New York Times and the Sunday Times. He was previously editor of The New Republic.

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  • 250 pages £30/$49.90,  978-0907845287 (hbk.) September 2007
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    Education and the Voice of Michael Oakeshott

    Kevin Williams

    The work of Michael Oakeshott has retained a striking currency in philosophical discourse about education. This is hardly surprising in view of his influence on Paul Hirst and Richard Peters, two philosophers whose work had an enormous impact on educational thinking and practice in the English-speaking world.  And, although much of the detail in educational debate may change, the fundamental underlying concerns regarding the conception of the person, the nature of knowledge and the moral life and their expression in educational institutions and activities remain subject of disagreement.  In the light of this continuing interest and of Oakeshott’s extensive writing on so many aspects of education, it is timely that a book be published on his thinking on the subject.
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  • 250 pages £30/$49.90, 978-1845400552 (hbk.) September 2007
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    Michael Oakeshott, the Ancient Greeks, and the Philosophical Study of Politics

    Eric S. Kos

    This book addresses a question fundamental for Oakeshott throughout his life, which is what we are doing when we read and discuss some memorable work in the history of political thought. The approach the book takes to Oakeshott’s response to this question is of particular interest in that it explores in detail extensive notes he made on the beginnings of political philosophy in ancient Greece in an unpublished set of notebooks in which he recorded his thoughts on many different subjects throughout his life.

    In addition, the book gives contemporary significance to Oakeshott’s interpretation of the history of political thought by using it to confront a series of contemporary challenges to the study of the history of political thought and to the study of the ‘great books.’ In particular, Oakeshott’s distinction between ‘various kinds or levels of political thought’ is carefully analyzed, as is also the extent of his agreement and disagreement with Quentin Skinner.

     In the concluding chapter, the author relates Oakeshott’s view of the nature of the history of political thought to his well-known description of philosophy as ‘conversation’, describing it as an introduction to that conversation.
     

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  • 250 pp., 978-1845400750, March 2008
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    The Sceptical Idealist: Michael Oakeshott as a Critic of the Enlightenment

    Roy Tseng

    This is the first book-length study to provide a structured interpretation of the significance of Michael Oakeshott’s critique of the Enlightenment. By seeing the thinker as a ‘sceptical idealist’ posing a serious challenge to the intellectual positions informed by the Enlightenment, this book attempts to resolve some of the issues debated by Oakeshott scholars.

    The author argues that Oakeshott’s famous critique of philosophisme and Rationalism in fact expresses a sense of the crisis of philosophical modernity. Moreover, notwithstanding some recent interpretations, throughout his intellectual career Oakeshott has never altered his analysis of these two themes: philosophy as the persistent re-establishment of completeness by transcending abstractness, and the modes of experience as self-consistent worlds of discourse. 

    To apply this philosophy in his moral and political writings, Oakeshott has redressed an imbalance in favour of the Enlightenment ethical position — ‘the sovereignty of technique’, ‘demonstrative moral truth’, ’the politics of faith’ and ‘enterprise association’ — by revitalising the importance of ‘traditional knowledge’, ‘conversation’, ‘intimation’, ‘the politics of scepticism’ and ‘civil association’. Oakeshott is neither a doctrinal liberal nor a dogmatic conservative, but a philosophical sceptic. 

    Moreover, Oakeshott’s contribution to history not only lies in his effort to transcend the Enlightenment historiographical position — by separating the historical from the naturalised conception of History on which so-called ‘scientific history’ rests — but also in his idealistic solution for the ‘temporal dilemma’ and the ‘epistemic tension’ in history that have long bothered philosophers.

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  • 300 pages £30/$49.90, 0907845_223 (hbk.) January 2003
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    Oakeshott on History

    Luke O'Sullivan

    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.
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  • 300 pages £30/$49.90, 0907845_290 (hbk.) January 2003
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    In Defence of Modernity: Vision and philosophy in Michael Oakeshott

    Efraim Podoksik

    Although Oakeshott’s philosophy has received considerable attention, the vision which underlies it has been almost completely ignored. This vision, which is rooted in the intellectual debates of his epoch, cements his ideas into a coherent whole and provides a compelling defence of modernity.

    The main feature of Oakeshott’s vision of modernity is seen here as radical plurality resulting from ‘fragmentation’ of experience and society. On the level of experience, modernity denies the existence of the hierarchical medieval scheme and argues that there exist independent ways of understanding our world, such as science and history, which cannot be reduced to each other. On the level of society, modernity finds expression in liberal doctrine, according to which society is an aggregate of individuals each pursuing his or her own choices. For Oakeshott, to be modern means not only to recognise this condition of radical plurality but also to learn to appreciate and enjoy it.

    Oakeshott did not think that it was possible to find a comprehensive philosophical justification for modernity, therefore the only way to preserve modern civilisation seemed to be an appeal to sentiment. As a consequence he was a passionate defender of liberal education as the best way to underwrite the ‘conversation of mankind.’

    Efraim Podoksik received his BA and MA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his MPhil and PhD from Cambridge University. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science of Bilkent University where he teaches history of political thought.

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  • 268 pages £30/$49.90, 0907845_665 (hbk.)

    Michael Oakeshott on Hobbes: A study in the renewal of philosophical ideas

    Ian Tregenza

    Michael Oakeshott is widely recognised to be one of the most original political philosophers of the twentieth century. He also developed a very influential interpretation of the ideas of the great seventeenth century philosopher Thomas Hobbes. While many commentators have noted the importance of Hobbes for understanding Oakeshott’s thought itself, this is the first book to provide a systematic interpretation of Oakeshott’s philosophy by paying close attention to all facets of Oakeshott’s reading of Hobbes.

    On the surface, Oakeshott, the philosophical idealist and critic of rationalism in politics, would seem to have little in common with Hobbes, who is often regarded as a classic materialist and rationalist philosopher. This work shows, however, that despite appearances, there are many basic affinities between the two thinkers and that Oakeshott brought to the surface aspects of Hobbes’s thought that had previously been overlooked by Hobbes scholars.

    The development of Oakeshott’s own theory is shown to mirror changes in his reading of Hobbes and many of the distinctive features of Oakeshott’s thought  including the modal and sceptical conception of human knowledge, the ‘morality of individuality’, the theory of civil association, and the critique of rationalism all find a fascinating focal point in his writings on Hobbes. Some attention is also paid to Oakeshott’s religious ideas, indicating what they share with Hobbes’s philosophy of religion. The book situates Oakeshott’s reading in relation to some other important twentieth century interpretations of Hobbes and examines its significance for broader debates in political theory and the history of ideas.

    Ian Tregenza holds a BA from Macquarie University, and a PhD from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He has published articles and reviews in various journals including History of Political Thought, Contemporary Political Theory and The European Legacy. He has taught at various Sydney universities and currently lectures in political theory at the University of New South Wales.

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  • 242 pp. £30/$49.90, 0907845_592 (hbk.) 

    The Limits of Political Theory: Oakeshott's Philosophy of Civil Association

    Kenneth B. McIntyre

    This book examines Oakeshott’s political philosophy within the context of his more general conception of philosophical understanding. The book stresses the underlying continuity of his major writings on the subject and takes seriously the implications of understanding the world in terms of modality. The book suggests strongly that Oakeshott’s philosophy of political activity cannot be reduced to a branch of conservatism, liberalism, or postmodernism or a theory or set of doctrines which fit neatly into any conventional school, like that of Idealism or Skepticism. Rather, Oakeshott’s philosophy of political activity is a provocation to all of the currently dominant schools of political theory and political practice. It questions their presuppositions and exposes as ambiguous, arbitrary, or confused all of the supposed certainties which they take for granted. It does all this by offering profound insights into the character and limits of both political activity and political theory in the modern world. 

    Publication: June 2004

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  • 210 pages £30/$49.90, 1-84540-010-0 (hbk.)

    From a ‘Necessary Evil’ to an Art of Contingency: Michael Oakeshott’s Conception of Political Activity

    Suvi Soininen

    This book presents a comprehensive study of Oakeshott’s conception of political activity. The author first examines Oakeshott in the contexts of liberal, conservative and Idealist thought, and then presents a detailed interpretation of the change in his conception of politics in the context of British postwar political thought. It is argued that Oakeshott’s conception of political activity shifted from a near contempt of politics towards the applauding of politics as a deliberative and reflective activity. The development is disclosed by examining the change in his key concepts, such as authority and tradition. Accordingly, some rather unexpected aspects of Oakeshott’s thought, such as his close relationship to the linguistic turn, appear. The author argues that although Oakeshott cannot exactly be classified as belonging to that group of political philosophers for whom politics represents a superior human activity, his later work presents an important and original view of politics as an art of contingency.

    Publication: June 2004

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  • 248 pages £30/$49.90 1-84540-006-2 (hbk.) July 2005

    Religious and Poetic Experience in the Thought of Michael Oakeshott

    Glenn Worthington

    Much of the scholarly attention attracted by Michael Oakeshott’s writings has focused upon his philosophical characterisation of the relations that constitute moral association in the modern world. A less noticed, but equally significant, aspect of Oakeshott’s moral philosophy is his account of the type of person (or persona) required to enter into and enjoy moral association. Oakeshott’s best known characterisation of the persona best suited to moral association occurs in his identification of a ‘morality of the individual’. The book argues that Oakeshott’s characterisations of religious and poetic experience provide a more detailed account of the type of persona that emerged in response to what it perceived as an invitation to participate in moral association in the modern world.

    190 pages £30/$40 0907845_622 (hbk.), November 2005

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    Series 2: Collingwood
    Editor: David Boucher, Cardiff University
    Editorial Board:
    W.H. Dray (Ottowa)
    Gary Browning (Oxford Brookes)
    Bruce Haddock (Cardiff)
    Rex Martin (Kansas)
    Guido Vanheeswijck (Antwerp)
    James Connelly (Hull)
    Jan van der Dussen (Open University, Netherlands)

    Collingwood and the Crisis of Western Civilisation: Art, Metaphysics and Dialectic

    Richard Murphy

    This book argues that R.G. Collingwood’s philosophy is best understood as a diagnosis of and response to a crisis of Western civilisation. The various and complementary aspects of the crisis of civilisation are explored and Collingwood is demonstrated to be working in the traditions of Romanticism and ‘historicism’. 

    On these subjects, the theories of Collingwood and Ortega y Gasset are contrasted with those of Nietzsche and Weber. 

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  • 250 pp., 978-1845401061 (hbk.), February 2008

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    Metaphysics, Method and Politics: The political philosophy of R.G. Collingwood

    James Connelly

    This book argues that R.G. Collingwood developed a complete and coherent political philosophy of civilization. In making this case it also demonstrates that Collingwood's philosophical work comprises a unity in which, although there was development, there is no fundamental discontinuity between his earlier and later writings. A philosophy of civilization must situate its subject matter within the full context of human experience and therefore Collingwood's political philosophy of civilization must be situated within the context of his whole philosophy. The book presents the case that Collingwood developed a coherent philosophy of politics and civilization, that this had its roots in both the early and the later work; and that his overall philosophical approach comprises a generally consistent and integrated whole.
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  • 360 pages £30/$49.90, 0907845_312 (hbk.) July 2003
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    Action as History: The historical thought of R.G. Collingwood

    Stein Helgeby

    R.G. Collingwood’s philosophy of history reflected his historical practices and his moral philosophy.  Reflection on historical practice provided Collingwood with a theory of knowledge; his moral philosophy provided him with a theory of the object of history. Moral philosophy animated Collingwood's philosophy of history with a purpose: the philosophy of history was to provide the grounds for a rational faith in the possibility of solving human problems. The relevance of Collingwood's thought to contemporary understandings of history and action lies in his desire to restore and deepen modern faith in reason, progress, civility and the malleability of human institutions. This study shows how Collingwood’s concepts of action and history developed together, and how they illuminate his understanding of modern historical consciousness and civilization.

    250 pages £30/$49.90, 0907845_576 (hbk.) February 2004

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  • ‘How Good an Historian Shall I Be?’ R.G. Collingwood, the historical imagination and education

    Marnie Hughes-Warrington

    R.G. Collingwood’s name is familiar to historians and history educators around the world. Few, however, have charted the depths of his reflections on what it means to be educated in history. In this book Marnie Hughes-Warrington begins with the facet of Collingwood’s work best known to teachers—re-enactment—and locates it in historically-informed discussions on empathy, imagination and history education. Revealed are dynamic concepts of the a priori imagination and education that tend towards reflection on the presuppositions that shape our own and others’ forms of life.

    242 pages £30/$49.90, 0907845_614 (hbk.) December 2003

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  • Religious Experience and its Modes in Collingwood

    Florin Lobont

    Based on a large number of unpublished manuscripts by Collingwood, especially of philosophy of religion, metaphysics and anthropology, the study examines the unifying role played by Collingwood’s reflection on religious knowledge in general and religious experience in particular throughout his oeuvre. Collingwood’s theism is presented as dialectical i.e. transcendental/immanent, and is associated with the faith-like character of the (Collingwoodian) absolute presuppositions regarded as the object of his reformed, ‘historical’, and ‘modest-realist’ metaphysics. The study demonstrates the isomorphism between the religious experience of God, his insights into the re-enactment of ‘essential’ or ‘lucid’ emotions, and the re-enactment of ‘unconscious’, pre-reflective, absolute presuppositions.

    260 pages £30/$49.90 1-84540-008-9 (hbk.) 2008 (postponed)



     
    Series 3: Green
    Editor: Peter Nicholson, University of York (retd.)
    Editorial Board:
    G.F. Gaus (Tulane)
    John Morrow (Auckland)
    Lord Plant (King’s College, London)
    Avital Simhony (Arizona State)
    Geoffrey Thomas (Birkbeck)
    Andrew Vincent (Sheffield)

    T.H. Green and the Development of Ethical Socialism

    Matt Carter

    This book uncovers the philosophical foundations of a tradition of ethical socialism best represented in the work of R.H. Tawney, tracing its roots back to the work of T.H. Green. Green and his colleagues developed a philosophy that rejected the atomistic individualism and empiricist assumptions that underpinned classical liberalism and helped to found a new political ideology based around four notions: the common good; a positive view of freedom; equality of opportunity; and an expanded role for the state. The book shows how Tawney adopted the key features of the idealists’ philosophical settlement and used them to help shape his own notions of true freedom and equality, thereby establishing a tradition of thought which remains relevant in British politics today.

    Matt Carter was General Secretary of the Labour Party from 2004-2005.

    230 pages £30/$49.90, 0907845_320 (hbk.) March 2003

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    The Greenian Moment: T. H. Green, Religion and Political Argument in Victorian Britain

    Denys Leighton

    This study of T. H. Green views his philosophical opus through his public life and political commitments, and it uses biography as a lens through which to examine Victorian political culture and its moral climate.  The book deals with the political and religious history of Victorian Britain in examining the basis of Green’s Liberal partisanship.  It demonstrates how his main ethical and political conceptions—his idea of “self-realisation” and his theory of individuality within community—were informed by evangelical theology, popular Protestantism and an idea of the English national consciousness as formed by religious conflict.  While the significance of Kantian and Hegelian elements in Green’s thought is acknowledged, it is argued that “indigenous” qualities of Green’s teachings resonated with values shared alike by elite and rank-and-file Liberals during the mid and late Victorian era.  In examining Green’s beliefs about the historical evolution of English liberty, his championing of (Liberal) Nonconformity and Nonconformist causes and his approval of religious bases of community, this study analyzes the ripening of a Greenian moment and traces Green’s influence on Liberal, quasi-socialist and Conservative social reform down to the 1920s.  The lasting impact of Green’s teachings on British and Western political philosophy, apparent in the current vogue for communitarianism in liberal theory, indicates limitations of the “secularization thesis” still tacitly accepted by historians of Western political thought.

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    300 pages £30/$49.90, 0907845_541 (hbk.) June 2004


    T.H. Green's Theory of Positive Freedom

    Ben Wempe

    In this new and entirely revised edition of his study of Green’s theory of positive freedom, Ben Wempe argues that the far-reaching and beneficial influence of Green’s political doctrine, on public policy as well as in the field of political theory, was founded on a misinterpretation of his philosophical stand, since the metaphysical basis on which Green argued for his political position was largely neglected. The book discusses Green’s philosophical development and examines an important, hitherto underrated, influence that went into the formation of his philosophical opinions. It then considers Green’s metaphysics and describes how some omissions from the concise version of his metaphysical doctrine, as it is found in his published works, may be remedied by reference to Green’s unpublished material.

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    300 pages £30/$40 0907845_584 (hbk.) November 2004


    The 'Puritan' Democracy of Thomas Hill Green

    Alberto De Sanctis

    The central concern of this book is to demonstrate how Puritanism was a theme which ran through all Green’s biography and political philosophy. It thereby reveals how Green’s connections with Evangelicalism and his known affinities with religious dissent came from his way of conceiving Puritanism. In Green’s eyes, its anti-formalist viewpoint made Puritanism the most suitable tool for avoiding the drawbacks of democracy. The key objective of the book is to illustrate how the philosophy elaborated by Green aimed to encapsulate the best of Puritanism whilst eschewing the dangerous abstractions of both Puritan philosophy and German idealism. It follows that Green’s conception of positive and negative freedom, and his vision of political obligation, stemmed from his effort to revive the Puritan heritage rather than from an ambiguous flirtation with idealism. 

    The book purports to show how the influence of Puritanism in Green’s political thought is an element which can help to integrate the literature in the area, contributing to a better comprehension of a philosopher who, despite being unanimously considered as the founder of the so-called Oxford idealist school, had a very difficult and sometimes obscure connection with idealism. It has been widely argued that Green’s relationship with idealism seemed to be infected by a religious germ which, because it was unrelated to German idealism, gave it a bad taste. This study aims to encourage further investigation into the nature and propagation of that germ in the British idealist School.

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    300 pages £30/$40 1-84540-038-0 (hbk.) September 2005


    Idealist Biobliographies by Colin Tyler, Centre for Democratic Governance, Hull (scroll to bottom of page & download)