Michael Oakeshott, Conservative Governance, and the Limitless: Finding a Home Amidst the Endless Journey of Life

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Peralta-Greenough, Quinton




This paper analyzes Michael Oakeshott's conception of conservative governance in the modern world. I begin by reviewing his philosophical understanding of practical activity before analyzing the role of conservative conduct within the world of practice. Through understanding Oakeshott's view, the pervasiveness of the conservative disposition in much of human activity is revealed and defended as a legitimate aspect of how people come to find their place in the world through habit and familiarity. Finally, Oakeshott's notion of the conservative disposition is considered in light of the activity of governing, elucidating why a form of conservative government—at least as Oakeshott conceptualizes it—is well suited to govern the pluralistic and dynamic cultures prevalent in the Western world today. Through Oakeshott, the conservative disposition is revealed to be a love of the present and careful management of its complexity, rather than a nostalgia for a time past as we often mistakenly believe.


Political Science




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Political Science

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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