Mark Dooley: Roger Scruton

The Philosopher on Dover Beach

Continuum, 2009

Front Flap:

DooleyThis book presents an intriguing portrait of Roger Scruton and his philosophy. Roger Scruton is one of the outstanding British philosophers of the post-war years. Why then is he at best ignored and at worst reviled? Part of the reason is that he is an unapologetic conservative in the tradition of Edmund Burke. That conservative instinct was sharpened during the Paris riots of 1968. From that point on Scruton set himself the task of stridently opposing what he has since termed “the culture or repudiation”. In so doing he targeted liberals in the tradition of Russell and Mill, existentialists like Sartre and postmodernists in the fashion of Foucault.

Here is a brilliant description of Scruton’s life and work and a careful analysis of his central ideas. Scruton defends an Hegelian and Burkean view of human nature, one founded on allegiance to the State as the guarantor of tangible freedom. He thus opposes any and all variations of the social contract theory, liberal or existential individualism or philosophical theories of the “authentic” self in isolation from its kind. In recent years his conservative notion of the nation state has been used to reflect upon and criticise the European Union, the United Nations and the idea that the Middle East can be reformed along Western democratic lines.

Scruton, argues the author of this book, is the one British intellectual who has courageously rowed against the tide of liberal conviction and has arrived at political conclusions the truth of which is becoming more and more obvious. This book argues conclusively that Roger Scruton is a prophet for our times.

About the Author:

Mark Dooley is an Irish philosopher, journalist and broadcaster.  From 1992-2003, he lectured in Philosophy at University College Dublin, where he was John Henry Newman Scholar in Theology from 1999-2002. In 2006, he joined the Philosophy Department of NUI Maynooth, where he taught until 2011.  Since 2006, Dooley has been a columnist with the Irish Daily Mail. In 2009, he published Roger Scruton: The Philosopher on Dover Beach (Continuum-Bloomsbury), the first book-length study of Scruton’s work to date.  In the same year, he published The Roger Scruton Reader (Continuum-Bloomsbury). Dooley’s other books include: Questioning Ethics (Routledge, 1999); The Politics of Exodus: Kierkegaard’s Ethics of Responsibility (Fordham, 2001); Questioning God (Indiana, 2001); A Passion for the Impossible (SUNY Press, 2003); The Philosophy of Derrida (Acumen, 2007); Why Be a Catholic? (Continuum-Bloomsbury, 2011), and Moral Matters: The Case for Conservative Thought which will be published by Bloomsbury in 2015.

Wikipedia

Dooley’s lecture at the Thinking the Sacred with Roger Scruton conference at McGill University, Montreal, in April (unfortunately somewhat poor sound quality): YouTube

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