Liberal Education and Classical Republicanism
McIlwain compares the ideas of Michael Oakeshott and Leo Strauss on liberal education, a topic which was of great importance to both thinkers. In examining their reasons for insisting on the elevated role of the university, McIlwain defends Oakeshott and Strauss from charges of social elitism and highlights the relevance of liberal education in underpinning political moderation. This involves the comparison of Oakeshott’s “conversation of mankind” and Strauss’s dialogue of the great minds. Oakeshott and Strauss’s emphasis on the intrinsic value of liberal education is also interpreted alongside their commitment to classical republicanism. The chapter also considers the effects of training and mobilization on Oakeshott’s pessimism about the universities and reflects on the figures of Heidegger and Churchill in elucidating Strauss’s hopes for the liberally educated.