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Conservatism, epistemology, risk and mind

Conservatism, epistemology, risk and mind
Conservatism, epistemology, risk and mind
In this paper, I comment on recent contributions to the debate about what conservatism is, and delineate something central or even essential to conservatism as very broadly defined as “an ideology predominantly concerned with the problem of change: not necessarily proposing to eliminate it, but to render it safe” (Freeden 1996). If possible, any account should also illuminate, and make sense in the context of, at least some of the important political philosophers in the tradition of Burke and Oakeshott which is generally known as the conservative tradition. Given the promiscuity with which politicians and thinkers describe themselves as ‘conservative’, this is always a bit of a balancing act. I briefly summarise a series of papers about conservatism, from Müller, Brennan and Hamlin, and Beckstein. I consider the importance to conservatism of a bias toward the status quo. Using a definition of conservatism which emphasises scepticism, I argue that a status quo bias is neither necessary nor sufficient for conservatism. I consider some of the consequences of the focus on epistemology in definitions of conservatism, arguing that the conservative is not prevented from acting politically, and that sceptical conservatism can inherit some moral force.
conservatism, epistemology, risk, mind, situated cognition, status quo bias
O'Hara, Kieron
0a64a4b1-efb5-45d1-a4c2-77783f18f0c4
O'Hara, Kieron
0a64a4b1-efb5-45d1-a4c2-77783f18f0c4

O'Hara, Kieron (2014) Conservatism, epistemology, risk and mind. Conservatism, Switzerland. 06 - 07 Nov 2014. 25 pp .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)

Abstract

In this paper, I comment on recent contributions to the debate about what conservatism is, and delineate something central or even essential to conservatism as very broadly defined as “an ideology predominantly concerned with the problem of change: not necessarily proposing to eliminate it, but to render it safe” (Freeden 1996). If possible, any account should also illuminate, and make sense in the context of, at least some of the important political philosophers in the tradition of Burke and Oakeshott which is generally known as the conservative tradition. Given the promiscuity with which politicians and thinkers describe themselves as ‘conservative’, this is always a bit of a balancing act. I briefly summarise a series of papers about conservatism, from Müller, Brennan and Hamlin, and Beckstein. I consider the importance to conservatism of a bias toward the status quo. Using a definition of conservatism which emphasises scepticism, I argue that a status quo bias is neither necessary nor sufficient for conservatism. I consider some of the consequences of the focus on epistemology in definitions of conservatism, arguing that the conservative is not prevented from acting politically, and that sceptical conservatism can inherit some moral force.

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More information

Published date: 7 November 2014
Venue - Dates: Conservatism, Switzerland, 2014-11-06 - 2014-11-07
Keywords: conservatism, epistemology, risk, mind, situated cognition, status quo bias
Organisations: Web & Internet Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 371591
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/371591
PURE UUID: 6a428115-7e2a-4801-9263-f9fd0f097162
ORCID for Kieron O'Hara: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9051-4456

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 Nov 2014 13:49
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:50

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