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‘THE POLITICS OF FAITH AND THE POLITICS OF SCEPTICISM’: MICHAEL OAKESHOTT, EDUCATION AND EXTREMISM

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ABSTRACT: 

This paper considers a distinction between two types of politics developed by Michael Oakeshott in his book The Politics of Faith and the Politics of Scepticism (1996) and argues that the theoretical framework proposed supplies an illuminating and productive perspective for examining the notion of political extremism. These positions are linked to two other important aspects of his work, namely his account of ‘enterprise’ and ‘civil’ association and his differentiation between abstract philosophical entities and concrete political situations. There is also a discussion of the idea of ‘perfectionism’ which is central to the politics of faith. The paper concludes with a consideration of some of the implications for political education arising from this analysis.
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Keywords: extremism; faith; perfectionism; scepticism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Cambridge

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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