Talk:Michael Oakeshott

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Modal Arrest[edit]

What is "modal arrest" that is mentioned in this article? Should this be "modal interest"? Interlingua 14:51, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

No, 'modal arrest' is correct. GeneCallahan (talk) 19:23, 25 March 2009 (UTC)


On Oakeshott's conservatism, the American philosopher John R. Searle once declared: "Oakeshott is usually characterized as a conservative, but if that is true, it is more in the sense in which Hume and Burke are conservatives, rather than in the sense of contemporary American or British politics" (in: The Storm Over the University, in: The New York Review of Books, December 6, 1990). [1] This is relevant, according to me.... Henry Cassini 15:49, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree that Oakeshott was a 20th century Burke, without the practical experience. Likewise, he never marched under the Thatcherite banner.Palnot (talk) 18:21, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

My two cents[edit]

This entry is too long, and not written in an encyclopedic style. More should be said about how Oakeshott haunts the present day American public conversation because of his great influence on Andrew Sullivan. There is as yet no biography of Oakeshott. Reader, bear with me as I share some gossip about this curious man. Oakeshott's private life was not "respectable". He was no family values conservative:

  • In his youth and middle age, he spent a number of summer holidays tramping in rural France, wandering from village to village, sometimes sleeping in haystacks and the like;
  • He was loyal to the Anglican church in some sense, mainly because he feared the dark side of human nature. This loyalty did not preclude his marrying seven times, and his being intimate with women he never married. If he ever had children, I have not seen them mentioned in print;
  • Sometime in the 1970s, when he was more than 70 years of age, a constable chanced upon Oakeshott's partaking of the favours of a woman on a deserted public beach in daylight. This resulted in a conviction, one which explains why he was never knighted, even though the Thatcher government admired him.Palnot (talk) 18:21, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

He turned down a knighthood, according to Sullivan and others. (Jackdelyelis (talk) 01:58, 12 May 2008 (UTC))

A lot of Palnot's juicy gossip seems made up -- for instance, Oakeshott was married three times, not seven. And he had a son, Simon. GeneCallahan (talk) 19:23, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Most Not Re-published?[edit]

"He was the author of well over 150 essays and reviews, most of which have yet to be republished."

I think that statement is now false, with the release of more posthumous books. I was just looking through the Oakeshott archives and saw little that is not out in book form. GeneCallahan (talk) 19:23, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

More commentary or evaluation?[edit]

What follows is basically a request for someone else to do some work (a bit gauche perhaps, sorry about that), since I'm not in much of a position to do it myself both due to time constraints right now and the fact that I'm completely unfamiliar with Oakeshott's work. I think the main thing this article needs right now is secondary-source commentary from those who have written about Oakeshott. What are his key ideas? How have they been influential? How do we evaluate his overall importance in the history of 20th century thought? I think just a few general additions along these lines would be very helpful—as it stands now it's hard for the reader to take away anything all that concrete from the article in terms of Oakeshott's overall importance. Anyhow, just a suggestion for someone with a decent background on Oakeshott who might want to put a bit of time into this. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 19:46, 9 March 2011 (UTC)