Roger Scruton is arguably the greatest living English philosopher. A prolific author of fifty books, composer of two operas, controversial columnist and academic dissident, he has stood at the heart of the intellectual life of Britain (and to some extent in the USA) for more than forty years.
Mark Dooley is Scruton's intellectual biographer. In these conversations Dooley coaxes Scruton to speak candidly about those whom he has loved and loathed, about his early philosophical influences and about those who have shaped him personally and intellectually. Going deeper than any previous autobiographical statements by Scruton, this book reveals what motivated the philosopher to embrace Kant and Wagner, how he came to know and admire thinkers like Iris Murdoch, Elizabeth Anscombe and Mary Midgely, and what he said to the underground seminars in Communist Czechoslovakia and the precise circumstances surrounding his arrest and expulsion from that country.
It examines what Scruton really thinks of his intellectual and political adversaries and why he believes their message remains a recipe for social collapse. He provides answers as to why he left Birkbeck University College and why he eventually abandoned academia altogether. It also includes insights into daily life on Scruton's farm, his writing routines and his astonishing capacity to produce so prodigiously. Conversations with Roger Scruton asks questions which Roger Scruton has never answered before.
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About the Author
Roger Scruton, the University of Oxford's Visiting Professor of Philosophy and Senior Fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, is also a prolific author. He writes regularly for The Times and The Telegraph.
Mark Dooley was University College Dublin's Newman Scholar of Theology. A regular on Irish radio and TV, he wrote a controversial foreign affairs column for the Sunday Independent, Roger Scruton: The Philosopher on Dover Beach, and edited The Roger Scruton Reader.
Table of Contents
1 Childhood and Cambridge 1
2 Becoming a Philosopher 29
3 Becoming a Conservative at Birkbeck 39
4 Some Thoughts on British Philosophy 57
5 Eastern Europe 65
6 Why Architecture? 85
7 Why Sex? 101
8 Leaving Birkbeck for Boston 113
9 Farming and Family 129
10 Sinful Pleasures 139
11 Rediscovering Religion 151
12 Living as a Writer 169
13 Making Music 179
14 Acceptance 191