chapter  6
Michael Oakeshott's Philosophy of Education
Pages 22

On reading much modern analytical philosophy one is often tempted to reflect that there is too much technique and too little judgement, to use one of Oakeshott's cardinal distinctions. Technical competence is shown in making distinctions, but what is often lacking is a 'nose' for the distinctions on which anything of philosophical importance depends. Oakeshott's 'style' of philosophy exemplifies the obverse combination of virtue and vice. He almost always has something to say which is interesting and important; but his impressionistic and rather literary approach to philosophical analysis often leaves what he has to say in a somewhat shadowy state. Few modern philosophers, of course, write with Oakeshott's literary skill; their articles read like work-notes rather than pieces prepared for others to read. But Oakeshott's literary virtuosity sometimes involves a systematic elusiveness when he touches upon situations covered by his key concepts.