Enduring Interest

Elizabeth Corey on Michael Oakeshott’s ”A Place of Learning” and ”Learning and Teaching”

February 9, 2022

This month our subject is Michael Oakeshott. We discuss two essays in particular: “A Place of Learning” and “Learning and Teaching.” Both essays can be found in the volume The Voice of Liberal Learning. Our guest is Elizabeth Corey of Baylor University. Elizabeth begins by providing a brief intellectual biography of Oakeshott. The bulk of our conversation takes up Oakeshott’s conception of liberal learning. He argues it is neither the acquisition of cultural knowledge or information nor the improvement of the mind. It is rather “learning to recognize some specific invitations to encounter particular adventures in human self-understanding.” Elizabeth and I discuss the distinctiveness of Oakeshott’s vision as well as his understanding of the primary challenges to liberal learning. We unpack Oakeshott’s meditation of the teacher-student relationship and end with a discussion of Oakeshott’s conservatism.

Elizabeth is an associate professor of Political Science at Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. Her writing has appeared in a variety of popular and scholarly journals, including First Things, National Affairs and The Wall Street Journal, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She received a bachelor’s in Classics from Oberlin College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in Art History and Political Science from Louisiana State University. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, publisher of First Things. She is also an American Enterprise Faith and Public Life Visiting Professor during the year 2022.

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