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Conservatism, Pragmatism, and Historical Inquiry

Conservatism, Pragmatism, and Historical Inquiry seth vannatta Morgan State University I. Introduction In a 2001 article entitled "The Classical Conservative Challenge to Dewey," Shawn O'Dwyer puts John Dewey's understanding of method to the test of criticisms made by conservative theorist Michael Oakeshott. Oakeshott criticizes the view that technical knowledge is superior to the reliance on custom, tradition, and habit in practical knowledge, that moral intelligence can be taught, and that moral intelligence consists of the application of techniques to resolve problems. O'Dwyer concludes that Dewey's reflections on moral deliberation pass Oakeshott's challenge to rationalism "with its central themes intact, if not unscathed."1 In light of O'Dwyer's article, we see that the classical conservatives and the classical pragmatists share some enticing similarities in their views on moral philosophy. Both acknowledge that "inquiry draws upon its own inheritance of beliefs from the past, beliefs successfully yielded by past inquiry, and avails itself of them as resources in addressing present problems." O'Dwyer continues, "Inquiry, then, is not external to tradition, and it is not ahistorical; it stands in continuity with past ideas, and these comprise its own traditions."2 Additionally, despite the fact that Oakeshott made few references to the mood and method of American philosophical pragmatism, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Pluralist University of Illinois Press

Conservatism, Pragmatism, and Historical Inquiry

The Pluralist , Volume 9 (1) – Mar 1, 2014

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
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Copyright © University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1944-6489
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Abstract

seth vannatta Morgan State University I. Introduction In a 2001 article entitled "The Classical Conservative Challenge to Dewey," Shawn O'Dwyer puts John Dewey's understanding of method to the test of criticisms made by conservative theorist Michael Oakeshott. Oakeshott criticizes the view that technical knowledge is superior to the reliance on custom, tradition, and habit in practical knowledge, that moral intelligence can be taught, and that moral intelligence consists of the application of techniques to resolve problems. O'Dwyer concludes that Dewey's reflections on moral deliberation pass Oakeshott's challenge to rationalism "with its central themes intact, if not unscathed."1 In light of O'Dwyer's article, we see that the classical conservatives and the classical pragmatists share some enticing similarities in their views on moral philosophy. Both acknowledge that "inquiry draws upon its own inheritance of beliefs from the past, beliefs successfully yielded by past inquiry, and avails itself of them as resources in addressing present problems." O'Dwyer continues, "Inquiry, then, is not external to tradition, and it is not ahistorical; it stands in continuity with past ideas, and these comprise its own traditions."2 Additionally, despite the fact that Oakeshott made few references to the mood and method of American philosophical pragmatism,

Journal

The PluralistUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Mar 1, 2014

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