Maurice Cowling was one of the most controversial historians and thinkers of the last 40 years and a key figure in modern British Conservatism. His work on intellectual and political history challenged conventional understanding of the political process and the liberal and secular ideas which have been so pervasive in modern Britain. Here leading scholars disclose Cowling's vision of British democracy and place it within its broader intellectual context. Cowling's work assaulted conventional assumptions about modern thought and stressed the value of a specifically Conservative approach for understanding past and contemporary predicaments. His writings on political history challenged existing understandings of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and delineated the motivations and power of the political elite. His studies in intellectual history constructed a bold critique of modern liberalism and highlighted the enduring importance of Christianity in British society. Robert Crowcroft, S.J.D. Green and Richard Whiting here bring together perspectives from religion, philosophy and politics to focus on Cowling's work and its context, looking at the connection between Cowling and the leading Conservative philosopher Michael Oakeshott, the impact of Cowling's ideas about the nature of politics and the way they are reported through journalism, and the relationship between Conservatism and Liberalism. They consider Cowling's views on the scope of historical understandings and whether the tools most frequently used to understand political activity are the most valuable for doing so. Further, they evaluate the place of Christianity in social thought and how Cowling's Conservative ideas might inform future patterns of thought. This book therefore provides a powerful multi-disciplinary explanation of Conservative thought about public life in modern Britain, and sheds light upon the interface between philosophy, politics, religion and British democracy.
Philosophy, Politics and Religion of British Democracy, The
Maurice Cowling and Conservatism