May 19, 2013

Michael Oakeshott and the Practical Cook

Michael Oakeshott, English politcal philosopher

Below is an extract from a New York Times commentary by David Brooks who discusses English philosopher Michael Oakeshott.

What I'm interested in is his analysis of Oakeshott's view on practical learning which was at the core of his 1947 essay, 'Rationalism and Politics'.

Here's what he said:

"In his 1947 essay, 'Rationalism and Politics,' he distinguished between technical and practical knowledge. Technical knowledge is the sort that can be put into words and written down in books. If you pick up a cookbook, you can read about the ingredients and proportions and techniques for preparing a meal.
But an excellent cook brings some other body of knowledge to the task, which cannot be articulated. This knowledge comes from experience. It can't be taught but must be acquired through doing, by entering into the intrinsic pattern of the activity."

Read the op-ed in full here.

You can also read my deeper analysis on Oakeshott in the Huffington Post here.

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