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Oakeshott, Freedom and Republicanism

Boucher, David 2005. Oakeshott, Freedom and Republicanism. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 7 (1) , pp. 81-96. 10.1111/j.1467-856X.2005.00168.x

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It is contended that Michael Oakeshott resists classification in terms of conventional labels of conservative, liberal, right or left, and that it is difficult to incorporate him in discussions of modern liberal theory because his concerns are not with human rights, distributive justice or multiculturalism. It is with reference to the classical republicanism of Rome that Oakeshott's distinctive contribution to political philosophy is illuminated because of his emphasis upon authority, the rule of law and freedom as non-domination. These are the very features that Oakeshott highlights in his lectures on the ‘Political Experience’ and ‘Political Thought’ of the Romans. Oakeshott values the distinction that the Romans, but not the Greeks, made between public and private, but unlike later republicans he does not associate the public sphere exclusively with political participation and civic virtues. One may contribute just as significantly to the public concern by being a music-hall entertainer. Oakeshott is clearly differentiated from modern instrumental republicans who in his view would be rationalists obsessed with institutional design and with viewing the civil condition as an enterprise association.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CT Biography
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISSN: 1467-856X
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:50

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