Michael Oakeshott and Alexandre Kojève on Play and Practice

  • David McIlwainEmail author
Part of the Recovering Political Philosophy book series (REPOPH)


Leo Strauss’s discussion of the role of death in the political philosophy of Hobbes informed Michael Oakeshott’s understanding of what he called “life from the standpoint of death.” Strauss had explained to friends that his work on Hobbes had been conceived with an emphasis on the “deep connection” between Hobbes and Hegel, an aspect of his study which was sharpened by discussions with Alexandre Kojève. This implies the indirect influence of Kojève on Oakeshott and McIlwain uses this context to construct a unique comparison of Kojève and Oakeshott, clarifying the premodern and religious elements in Oakeshott’s description of a poetic self in setting this against Kojève’s universal and homogeneous state. The comparison is developed in terms of Kojève’s Japanese “snob” and Oakeshott’s mode of poetry.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Modern History, Politics and International RelationsMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

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