The Poetic Character of Human Activity

The Poetic Character of Human Activity : Collected Essays on the Thought of Michael Oakeshott

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The Poetic Character of Human Activity: Collected Essays on the Thought of Michael Oakshott is a collection of nine essays by two Oakeshott scholars, most of which explore the meaning of Oakeshott's pregnant phrase, "the poetic character of human activity" by comparing and contrasting this central idea with similar and opposing ones, in particular those of the Chinese thinkers, Zhuangzi and Confucius, but also of Western thinkers such as Plato, Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin. Common themes addressed include the poetic or non-instrumental aspects of philosophizing, teaching and learning, morality and governance.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 152 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 362.87g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0739171615
  • 9780739171615
  • 1,553,531

Review quote

In this book Coats and Cheung explain the centrality of Chinese thought in Michael Oakeshott's philosophy. His notion that life's value is found in doing things for their own sake rather than for some far-off telos reflects a central preoccupation of Taoism. Thus the essays collected here illuminate 'the poetic character of human activity,' which undoubtedly lies at the heart of Oakeshott's philosophy. The book brings to light Oakeshott's notion of the moral life as inherently creative, helping readers to see why he objects to the Rationalism and utilitarianism that pervade so much of modern life. -- Elizabeth Corey, Baylor University
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About Wendell John Coats

Wendell John Coats Jr. is Professor of Government at Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut. Chor-yung Cheung is the Dean of Students of City University of Hong Kong, and specializes in political theory and Hong Kong politics.
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Table of contents

Chapter 1: Michael Oakeshott and the Poetic Character of Human Activity Chapter 2: Practical Implications of Oakeshott's Poetic Conception of Human Activity Chapter 3: Skepticism, Poetic Imagination, and the Art of Non-Instrumentality: Oakeshott and Zhuangzi Chapter 4: Some Correspondences between Michael Oakeshott's Critique of Rationalism and A.C. Graham's account of Spontaneity vs. Reason Chapter 5: Conversation and Learning: Oakeshott and Confucius Chapter 6: Michael Oakeshott and Contemporary Political Philosophy: an interpretation Chapter 7: "Theory and Practice" in Oakeshott, Strauss, and Vogelin Chapter 8: Three Views of Leviathan - Oakeshott, Strauss, and Vogelin Chapter 9: The Cave, The Tower of Babel, and Civil Conversation: Methaphors and the Philosophical and Political Thought of Oakeshott
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