© 2019

Michael Oakeshott and Leo Strauss

The Politics of Renaissance and Enlightenment


Part of the Recovering Political Philosophy book series (REPOPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. David McIlwain
    Pages 1-13
  3. David McIlwain
    Pages 199-208
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 209-222

About this book


This book compares the thought of Michael Oakeshott and Leo Strauss, bringing Oakeshott’s desire for a renaissance of poetic individuality into dialogue with Strauss’s recovery of the universality of philosophical enlightenment. Starting from the conventional understanding of these thinkers as important voices of twentieth-century conservatism, McIlwain traces their deeper and more radical commitments to the highpoints of human achievement and their shared concerns with the fate of traditional inheritances in modernity, the role and meaning of history, the intention and meaning of political philosophy, and the problem of politics and religion. The book culminates in an articulation of the positions of Oakeshott and Strauss as part of the quarrel of poetry and philosophy, revealing the ongoing implications of their thinking in terms of the profound spiritual and political questions raised by modern thinkers such as Hobbes, Hegel, Nietzsche and Heidegger and leading back to foundational figures of Western civilization including St. Augustine and Socrates.


renaissance enlightenment conservatism twentieth century political philosophy Oakeshott Leo Strauss Hobbes Kojève religion and politics Heidegger radical historicism Hegel Christianity modernism continental philosophy Plato Judaism Republicanism Socrates St. Augustine

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Modern History, Politics and International RelationsMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

About the authors

David McIlwain received his PhD in Politics from Macquarie University, Australia in 2018.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Michael Oakeshott and Leo Strauss
  • Book Subtitle The Politics of Renaissance and Enlightenment
  • Authors David McIlwain
  • Series Title Recovering Political Philosophy
  • Series Abbreviated Title Recovering Political Philosophy
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Political Science and International Studies Political Science and International Studies (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-13380-1
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-13383-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-13381-8
  • Series ISSN 2524-7166
  • Series E-ISSN 2524-7174
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XII, 222
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Political Theory
    Political Philosophy
    Politics and Religion
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“McIlwain makes an illuminating and original argument that casts a great deal of light on both Strauss and Oakeshott. The writing is excellent, the argument well developed, and the comparison very valuable. Moreover, the establishment of a ‘dialogue’ between the two thinkers is a worthy project that will contribute to the burgeoning literature on both.” (Wayne Cristaudo, Professor, Political Science, Charles Darwin University, USA)

“This closely argued comparative study sheds new light on two of the twentieth century’s most important political philosophers. McIlwain shows the breadth and nuances of Strauss’s and Oakeshott’s philosophical visions and their respective diagnoses of modern civilization. The treatment of religious themes in both thinkers’ philosophical projects is particularly illuminating.”(Ian Tregenza, Senior Lecturer, Modern History, Politics & International Relations, Macquarie University, Australia)