How Oakeshott became an Oakeshottean

Efraim Podoksik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Two ideas lie at the heart of Oakeshott's philosophy: the notion of the inherent plurality of modern experience and the notion of a modern state as a purposeless civil association. These ideas signify Oakeshott's rejection of the intellectual tradition of British Idealism by which he was influenced in his twenties. The breaking point was the publication of Experience and its Modes, although, with regard to social philosophy, the process of the abandonment of holistic Idealism lasted longer and was completed only with the publication of On Human Conduct. The main difference between Oakeshott and other British Idealists lies in his radical rejection of methodological holism. It is suggested that this rejection might be an outcome of influences of continental philosophical traditions, and that Oakeshott's philosophy is especially indebted to the ideas of the fragmentation of experience prevalent in Central European Idealism, and particularly in neo-Kantianism.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)67-88
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • British Idealism
  • Collingwood
  • Fragmentation
  • Individuality
  • Neo-Kantianism
  • Oakeshott
  • Plurality
  • Self
  • State


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