“ ’What’s Gone and What’s Past Help...’: Oakeshott and Strauss on Historical Explanation”

“ ’What’s Gone and What’s Past Help...’: Oakeshott and Strauss on Historical... © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/187226310X490052 Journal of the Philosophy of History 4 (2010) 65–101 brill.nl/jph “ ‘What’s Gone and What’s Past Help . . .’: Oakeshott and Strauss on Historical Explanation” Kenneth B. McIntyre Assistant Professor of Political Science, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada kmcintyr@alcor.concordia.ca Abstract Because of the public identifi cation of both Michael Oakeshott and Leo Strauss as conservative political philosophers, there have been numerous comparisons of their political thought. Whatever similarities or diff erences that do exist between them, it is certainly true that they shared a keen interest in the history of political thought. However, they understood the character of history in widely divergent ways. In the following paper, I examine the way in which each writer understood the logic of historical explanation, and there are two primary reasons for wanting to do so. First, there have been few examinations of either writer’s arguments con- cerning historical understanding, despite the stature of both as historians of polit- ical theory. Second, the diff erences between Oakeshott and Strauss on history are central to two fundamentally opposed ways of understanding the past, each of which has manifested itself in the contemporary practice of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Philosophy of History Brill

“ ’What’s Gone and What’s Past Help...’: Oakeshott and Strauss on Historical Explanation”

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2010 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1872-261X
eISSN
1872-2636
D.O.I.
10.1163/187226310X490052
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/187226310X490052 Journal of the Philosophy of History 4 (2010) 65–101 brill.nl/jph “ ‘What’s Gone and What’s Past Help . . .’: Oakeshott and Strauss on Historical Explanation” Kenneth B. McIntyre Assistant Professor of Political Science, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada kmcintyr@alcor.concordia.ca Abstract Because of the public identifi cation of both Michael Oakeshott and Leo Strauss as conservative political philosophers, there have been numerous comparisons of their political thought. Whatever similarities or diff erences that do exist between them, it is certainly true that they shared a keen interest in the history of political thought. However, they understood the character of history in widely divergent ways. In the following paper, I examine the way in which each writer understood the logic of historical explanation, and there are two primary reasons for wanting to do so. First, there have been few examinations of either writer’s arguments con- cerning historical understanding, despite the stature of both as historians of polit- ical theory. Second, the diff erences between Oakeshott and Strauss on history are central to two fundamentally opposed ways of understanding the past, each of which has manifested itself in the contemporary practice of

Journal

Journal of the Philosophy of HistoryBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2010

Keywords: contextualism; Leo Strauss; political theory; Michael Oakeshott; history

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