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SCEPTICISM IN POLITICS: A DIALOGUE BETWEEN MICHAEL OAKESHOTT AND JOHN DUNN

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Abstract:

Although they hold different political positions, Oakeshott and Dunn actually share in common a sceptical reading of the human condition and the nature of politics. There are, however, two sceptical traditions within the British context that they seem, respectively, to have followed: the Humean autonomy of practice and the Lockean quest for guidance. It is hoped that by tracing their sources back to Hume and Locke, Oakeshott's and Dunn’s conflicting views on the theory of practical reason, namely the detachment view versus the engagement view, can be well explicated, and that the differentia between the ‘right’ and the ‘left’ can be philosophically reconsidered.

Keywords: British political thought; David Hume; Edmund Burke; John Dunn; John Locke; Michael Oakeshott; Michel de Montaigne; Sextus Empiricus; Thomas Hobbes; historiography; political judgment; pyrrhonism; scepticism; the Left; the Right

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-01-01

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