Overcoming the conservative disposition: Oakeshott vs. Tönnies

Efraim Podoksik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Widely considered a conservative British philosopher, this article presents Michael Oakeshott as, in fact, a critic of conservatism - in particular of the German conservative tradition, represented, among other thinkers, by Ferdinand Tönnies. This tradition was characterised by the rejection of modern individualistic society considered as an embodiment of alienating purpose-oriented rationalism. At a certain phase of his intellectual development Oakeshott himself came under the influence of this conservative critique, with ideas strikingly similar to those of Tönnies. Yet, unlike Tönnies, Oakeshott later rejected the premises of this tradition. Instead, he formulated the notion of rationalistic non-purposive association, which allowed him to become reconciled to modern liberal society.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)857-880
Number of pages24
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008


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