Wine was revered in ancient times as the work of a god. Its subsequent place at the heart of our civilisation justifies that attitude. Wine has been, for us, a glowing threshold through which we pass from work to play, from business to friendship, and from means to ends. In due course wine became an essential part of the sacrament that defines the Christian religion, singled out by Christ himself as the right way to honour him, to be taken at communion in remembrance of his sacrificial death. Through all our art and literature wine displays its distinctive light, offering shared moments of joy, and shining a light of forgiveness on our everyday misconduct.
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
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
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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
- 'Politics needs a first-person plural' The Conservative - Nov 17
- 'Brexit will give us back the countryside, as well as our country' Spectator Life, 29 Nov 17
- Free Speech and Universities The Times - 27 Nov 17
- 'Brexit will restore a proper sense of patriotism'. The Times Comment - 17 Nov 17
- 'A Philosopher on the Decline of the English Countryside, Brexit, and the European Project.' The Weekly Standard - Nov 17
- The Jeremy Vine Show, BBC Radio 2 - 7 Nov 17
- 'The English Fix' BBC Radio 4 - 14 Sept 17
- 'Coming Home in Scrutopia : A happy week with Roger Scruton' - The Imaginative Conservative, Tina McCormick
- 'As the left surges back, Marxism’s bloody legacy is covered up' Spectator Life - 20 Sept 17