Towards Pragmatic Conservatism

12 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2016 Last revised: 15 Oct 2016

Date Written: 2016


Where do pragmatism and conservatism intersect? What does pragmatism offer conservatives? Seth Vannatta answers these questions in Conservativism and Pragmatism in Law, Politics, and Ethics. He argues that, as a methodology, pragmatism concerns itself with the situated, the embedded, the contextual, the experiential, the fallible, the social, and the customary. Chief among its concerns is lived experience. It recalls philosophical modes associated with Michael Oakeshott, Edmund Burke, F. A. Hayek, and Russell Kirk. This essay explains and evaluates Vannatta’s arguments about pragmatism and conservatism with an eye toward reanimating a pragmatic conservative tradition.

Keywords: Pragmatism, Conservatism, Michael Oakeshott, F. A. Hayek, Russell Kirk, Edmund Burke, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Suggested Citation

Mendenhall, Allen, Towards Pragmatic Conservatism (2016). University of Dayton Law Review, Vol. 41, No. 1, 2016, Available at SSRN:

Allen Mendenhall (Contact Author)

Troy University ( email )

Troy, AL
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics