The Skeptic’s Oakeshott

  • Authors
  • Steven Anthony Gerencser

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Steven Anthony Gerencser
    Pages 1-9
  3. Steven Anthony Gerencser
    Pages 11-31
  4. Steven Anthony Gerencser
    Pages 33-51
  5. Steven Anthony Gerencser
    Pages 53-76
  6. Steven Anthony Gerencser
    Pages 77-97
  7. Steven Anthony Gerencser
    Pages 99-123
  8. Steven Anthony Gerencser
    Pages 125-151
  9. Steven Anthony Gerencser
    Pages 153-165
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 167-214

About this book


The Skeptic's Oakeshott poses the thesis that Michael Oakeshott's political philosophy is best understood from the vantage point of his skepticism and his intellectual affinity to Hobbes, whose work he commented on extensively. Margaret Thatcher based much of her political philosophy on Oakeshott's theories, but Gerencser shows how she widely misinterpreted his work. He argues persuasively against those who understand Oakeshott in terms of the influence of British idealism. Instead, Gerencser argues that Oakeshott adopts and softens Hobbes' idea of consent as the basis of political authority. By insisting that political authority has its source in acknowledgement and recognition, Oakeshott's philosophy opens the doors to democratic politics. The book ends with persuasive criticisms of Oakeshott, especially for thinking that politics offers only two alternatives, either the legitimacy of authority is universally recognized or civil war and secession are the result. Gerencser argues for the necessity of conflict and the contestation of the legitimacy of authority. He uses examples from Oakeshott's own work to show that civil disobedience is not only integral to democratic politics, but is required by Oakeshott's own understanding of the political.


conflict democracy Michael Oakeshott philosophy political philosophy Political Thought politics Thomas Hobbes work

Bibliographic information