Kathy Wilkes Memorial Conference

Exploring Identity: Political and Philosophical
Dr Kathy Wilkes was a Fellow of St Hilda's from 1973 until her death in 2003. She was one of the College's most distinguished female academics, who worked in an interdisciplinary way before this became fashionable. In particular, Dr Wilkes was a philosopher who was informed by experimental work in psychology. As well as a distinguished philosopher, she was a well-known supporter of academics struggling under communism in Eastern Europe. She played an important part in the so-called Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. President Vaclav Havel awarded her the Commemorative Medal of the President of the Czech Republic in October 1998. Later, she lived in Dubrovnik and supported the Croatians in their war for independence. For her efforts she was made an honorary citizen of Dubrovnik (and a plaque in her honour can be found just outside the city walls). For all her achievements - philosophical and political - St Hilda's College has much to be proud of in Kathy Wilkes. This conference is to honour her achievements

If you would like to watch the conference, please follow this LINK 

Why Musicians Need Philosophy? For the Future Symphony Institute

NOT AS MUCH, I GRANT, AS PHILOSOPHERS NEED MUSIC, but nevertheless the need is real. In the past our musical culture had secure foundations in the church, in the concert hall and in the home. The common practice of tonal harmony united composers, performers and listeners in a shared language, and people played instruments at home with an intimate sense of belonging to the music that they made, just as the music belonged to them. The repertoire was neither controversial nor especially challenging, and music took its place in the ceremonies and celebrations of ordinary life alongside the rituals of everyday religion and the forms of good manners.

Read the full article online HERE 

Start the Week- 1968: Radicals and Riots - April 18

1968: Radicals and Riots
Start the Week

Fifty years after radicals took to the streets of Paris and stormed campuses across the Western World, Andrew Marr unpicks the legacy of 1968.

Listen to the podcast HERE 

 

Is Music a Civilising Force? BBC Radio 3

In the first of five essay's responding to the BBC's TV series Civilisations, Sir Roger Scruton explores the notion that music might be a civilising force. Listen to full podcast HERE

'Big business once cherished workers. Now it exploits them' Spectator Life - 21 Feb 18

Victorian capitalists belonged to the same town as those who worked for them. They could not escape the demands of the neighbourhood.

After two decades in which it was assumed that the argument was over, capitalism has resurged at the top of the political agenda. Is it the key to prosperity or the solvent of communities? Is it the source of inequalities or the cure for them, the path to stability or the sure way to a crisis? And is there, given what we know of the old ‘socialist economies’, a real alternative?

"The Tories will convince voters if they put the national interest first" The Daily Telegraph Comment - Feb 18

The Brexit crisis has thrown up a new division in politics – May will need a philosophy to succeed

The Brexit negotiations have made the national interest into the central topic of politics. At a time of narcissism and attention-seeking such as the world has never known, a brief spell of objective debate has been granted. And the public have been gripped by it. There are those foreigners trying to swindle us again! And there are those nationalist Brits trying to swindle the foreigners! Whatever else will emerge from the debates, one thing is certain. We will have learnt that the deep questions of politics, the questions on which all else depends, are not about the future, but about the past. They concern our national inheritance, the hopes and attachments that unite us and the place of our country in the world.
Great personalities, conflicts and decisions are suddenly foregrounded: Charlemagne, Charles the Fifth, the Glorious Revolution, the Congress of Vienna, the Peace of Versailles, Runnymede – all get a look in. The tension between common law and civilian jurisdictions, the distinction between a customs union and a free-trade agreement, the powers of the European Court of Justice and its distinction from the Court of Human Rights – one way or another critical fragments of the political and intellectual heritage of Europe are paraded before the public eye. Our elected representatives are forced to argue as though the national interest rather than some ideological agenda is the matter in hand, and this means taking history seriously, to arrive at a viable definition of who we are.

'Sir Roger to the Rescue' - Stephen Presser, Law & Liberty

Those of us who read for a living read a lot, and we rarely come across a work that is, simply stated, dazzling and delightful. Even rarer is one dazzling, delightful, deep and wise, but Roger Scruton’s Conservatism, is just such a book. Here, in an astonishingly short compass (less than one hundred and fifty pages of text), is a comprehensive history of western conservative thought, from the beginnings in Aristotle and Aquinas, through the French and Industrial Revolutions, right up to the present, and conservative thought not just in America and Britain, but in Continental Europe as well. The book is part of Profile Books’s series “Ideas in Profile,” subtitled “Small Introductions to Big Topics,” an apt rubric for what we have here.

'The Burdens of Belonging: Roger Scruton's National State' American Affairs - Dec 17

From his position as the dean of English conservatism, Roger Scruton explains the ideas, habits, and traditions that made the West a civilization not only of immense learning and wealth, but also one of love and mercy. A philosopher, musician, environmentalist, novelist, aesthete, and former literary smuggler in Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia, Scruton’s depth of learning enables him to speak with unique authority on how the West’s achievements opened it to democracy, the rule of law, and profound loyalty to the nation-state. It is this last topic, the nation-state, that has attracted Scruton’s attention in recent years precisely because of its precarious standing on the world stage. Scruton’s defense of the nation-state engages its many critics on their own ground. To their insistence that the nation-state is the wellspring of insularity and rapacious nationalism, Scruton underscores that the nation-state is the pivotal seat of tolerance, prosperity, and democratic accountability.

 

'The social media lynch-mob degrades our culture. We must resist and rebuild what is truly valuable' The Telegraph - 5 Dec 17

Suppose you woke up one day to discover that you were headline news. A leading newspaper has spread across its front page a story that you were seen entering a notorious brothel in London in company with a gang of criminals.

There is no evidence that you have committed a crime, and the only ground for the story is that it has been relayed to the press by a police officer, appointed to investigate the gang in whose company you were allegedly seen.

This police officer, you suspect, has a grudge against you: maybe he doesn’t like your politics; maybe he is jealous of the attention you have received as a recently elected city councillor.

Whatever the cause of the matter, your life has been irreversibly damaged. There is no criminal charge, no chance to defend yourself and nothing to refute save malicious gossip.

Scrutopia Summer School 2018

Now running for a second year, the Scrutopia summer school offers a ten-day immersion experience in the philosophy and outlook of Sir Roger Scruton, the British writer and philosopher who has inspired many searching people to believe in Western civilisation and its legacy. Sir Roger will lead the course of study, which will take place in and around his house near historic Malmesbury in the Cotswolds, from 26th August to 3rd September 2018. Residents would be housed in the Royal Agricultural University in nearby Cirencester, a charming Victorian Gothic college that provides comfortable accommodation and excellent food. Daily classes and discussions on the life of the mind will be interspersed with visits to nearby historical sites, including Oxford and Bath, which will provide an experience of the historical depth of this unique part of England.

The aim is to assemble a group of around 20 committed people, with a shared interest in culture and in all that is involved in passing it on. Each day will begin with a talk from Sir Roger followed by a discussion. Reading and discussion in the afternoon will lead to a formal presentation, either by Sir Roger or a visiting speaker, and the evenings will involve concerts, readings, or further discussion over wine. Aspiring writers, composers and artists will be invited to submit samples of their work for criticism, and discussions will be organised around a curriculum of readings chosen to illustrate some of the major intellectual issues of our day.
Provisional topics include the nature of philosophy, why beauty matters, the art of writing, figurative painting, the Western inheritance, the meaning of conservatism, musical order, real environmentalism, understanding wine and the life of friendship. We will aim also to provide a piano trio for an evening of Schubert and Brahms.
Opportunities to walk, ride and ponder in the beautiful local countryside will be many, and events will take place at the Scruton residence as well as at Cirencester.

The fee for the course will be £2,500 to cover board and lodging and all other costs, apart from travel to and from the event, which will be the responsibility of each participant. We will close the list of participants when we have twenty firm commitments, who have paid the deposit of £200 necessary to secure a place on the course. 

To register your interest please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Latest Articles

Roger Scruton gets his job back - The Spectator, 23rd July 19

Roger Scruton has been reappointed as head of a government housing body after he was sacked in April following a magazine interview in which his views were misrepresented. The letter...

The Telegraph - 20th July 19

The failure to stand up for conservative thinking is leading us into a new cultural dark age. The intellectual scene always used to have room for great minds from the...

Letter from the Secretary of State 9/7/19

This is to report the good news that, in addition to the published apology from the New Statesman, Roger has now received an apology from the Secretary of State, James...

Press Statement from Sir Roger Scruton in response to the apology from The New Statesman 8 Jul 2019

Press Statement from Sir Roger Scruton in response to the apology from The New Statesman 8 July 2019 Statement, Sir Roger Scruton: “I am pleased to have resolved my complaint against...

Recent Books

Souls in the Twilight

Beaufort Books  (October 2018) As the lights that have guided us go out, people begin to wander in the twilight, seeking their place of belonging. In these stories, set in...

Music as an Art

Bloomsbury  (August 2018) Music as an Art begins by examining music through a philosophical lens, engaging in discussions about tonality, music and the moral life, music and cognitive science and German...

Where We Are: The State of Britain Now

Where We Are: The State of Britain Now

Bloomsbury (November 2017) Addressing one of the most politically turbulent periods in modern British history, philosopher Roger Scruton asks how, in these circumstances, we can come to define our identity,...

2019 Events

Wed 31st Jul - Fri 9th Aug - 2019 Scrutopia Summer School

Thur 29th Aug - Sun 1st Sept - Scrutopia Alumni Meeting 

Thurs 19th Sept - ISI Gala for Western Civilization, Philadelphia

Thurs 3rd Oct - University of Buckingham London Programmes - Masters in Philosophy