Another Case for The Classical Approach

  • Alexander Astrov


In this book, I outline an idea of world politics as a distinct activity of thinking and speaking about the conditions of world order in terms of their desirability. World order is understood not as an arrangement of entities, be they humans, states or civilizations, but a complex of variously situated activities, including individuals as members of diverse associations of their own. This idea is advanced from within one such association, or context, contemporary International Relations, wherein it entails a theoretical position, neotraditionalism, as a rectification of the initial, ‘traditionalist’ or ‘classical’, approach after the advance of rationalism and subsequent reflectivist critique.


Classical Approach International Relation World Order World Politics World Society 
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    In my reading of Oakeshott, I concentrate mostly on the argument of On Human Conduct in its relation to those of Experience and Its Modes and On History. In doing so, I do not trace in every detail the evolution of Oakeshott’s account of human associations from Rationalism in Politics to On Human Conduct. For discussions that focus on this issue see A. Farr, Sartres Radicalism and Oakeshotts Conservatism: The Duplicity of Freedom (London: Macmillan, 1998); R. Tseng, The Sceptical Idealist; E. Podoksik, In Defence of Modernity: Vision and Philosophy in Michael Oakeshott (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 2003) and T. Nardin, The Philosophy of Michael Oakeshott (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001). In particular, Tseng and Nardin both argue that ‘traditions of action’ of Rationalism become ‘practices’ in On Human Conduct. I agree with this point but concentrate not on the transition from one term to another but on the (inter) modal character of ‘practices’ as they appear in Oakeshott’s later work.Google Scholar

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© Alexander Astrov 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Astrov
    • 1
  1. 1.Central European UniversityHungary

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