Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2010 Gifford Lectures

The 2010 Gifford Lectures will be given by Roger Scruton on the theme “The Face of God.” More information is available here.


  1. Thanks for the link, Edward. Roger Scruton, even before I became a theist, was one of my favorite philosophers. In fact, it was finding out that both he and Peter van Inwagen (another favorite) were Christians that led me to start taking philosophy of religion and religion itself more seriously. I look forward to this Gifford Lecture.

  2. Scruton is one of my favorite writers and philosophers, but I thought he was just a secular philosopher with very conservative leanings. Is he really a Christian? (I heard he came close to becoming a Catholic at one point.)

  3. Today, in my ethics class (taught by a liberal professor, of course), we discussed whether all marriage between consenting adults should be legal. This included heterosexual marriage, homosexual marriage, polygamy, polyandry, and yes, even incest. Needless to say, everyone besides me was in favor of every form. "The power to choose must be esteemed above all else," one student said. "We shouldn't deny them the choice."

    At that moment, I dearly wished that the crystal voice of Roger Scruton would speak to me in my head, telling me the precise words by which to verbally wring these scoffers by the neck with a strong, reflective dose of conservatism.

  4. It's very hard for young people (although I'm not assuming you're young) to buck the consensus in a setting like that. I remember arguing in favour of the principle of censorship once, against an entire college class plus my lecturer. On the other hand, I remember many more times when I kept my disagreement of liberal orthodoxy to myself, or even cravenly pretended to agree.

    I always got the impression that Scruton is what the Dawkinites like to call "a believer in belief". But I'm not sure.

  5. According to Lawrence Auster:

    "Scruton proposes a traditionalism that refers to nothing beyond itself, one that treats human goods as purely human things that arise over time out of the life and experience of men living together. To preserve such goods, he says, all that is needed is an attitude of natural piety toward those who have come before and their ways, in particular the ordinary decencies that make possible the continuity of generations and a tolerable life in community with others.

    To support that natural piety, he says, no transcendent reference is needed, only the circumstances that it works and it corresponds to the untutored prejudices of ordinary people, and so has a presumptive claim to acceptance. In a postmodern age, sceptical objections to it can then be dissolved by the same scepticism they try to employ themselves, leaving piety and tradition in possession of the field."

    Here's links to Auster's articles on Scuton (which have links to Scutons Articles themselves):

    Scruton's Godless conservatism


    More on Scruton's Godless Conservatism


  6. Well put Phantom.

    And my impression from reading Rogers 2007 Prospect essay is that he is really only a believer in belief. A kind of agnostic fence-sitting Anglican.

    Plus I always look at the company that any and every one who talks about God keeps. As a way of finding how authentic their religion happens to be.

    Quite frankly I find that Roger spends too much time in BAD company, whether it be the AEI or via Opus Dei at the Institute of Psychological Sciences.