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Thinking the Sacred with Roger Scruton


"It is from religious ideas that the human world, and the subject who inhabits it, were made."

(Roger Scruton -- Philosophy: Principles and Problems)


'Thinking the Sacred with Roger Scruton'

An International Conference

Hosted by the Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University

Montreal, QC

April 11-13, 2014


This conference is dedicated to the work of philosopher Roger Scruton who will give the keynote lecture (open to the public) sponsored by the Beatty Memorial Lecture Series.  This event brings together an international group of scholars who will respond to different but related aspects of Scruton's work. The focus will be Scruton's work on religion. Scruton approaches religion and the 'sacred' from philosophical point of view, as an author of fiction and poetry, cultural critic, and composer.

Given Scruton's dynamic approach to the subject, the conference will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to his work, drawing on the expertise of those who specialize in philosophy, philosophical theology, aesthetics, musicology, political philosophy, and church history. The common aim of the papers will be i) to draw out what Scruton understands the sacred to be philosophically; ii) to discern how humans 'sense' or experience the sacred; iii) to consider which historical figures Scruton identifies his own position with and why; iv) to explore how his conservative philosophical convictions square with his views on religion. Finally, in a session open to the public, Scruton will sit on a panel with Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor and French Intellectual Chantal Delsol to field questions from scholars and the general audience on the place of religion in the public sphere.

The conference will also feature the performance of a selection of the philosopher’s compositions for voice and piano, including his Lorca Songs and a scene from his Opera The Minister put on by the Montreal-based company Opera da Camera.  The event will be recorded by the CBC Radio Programme ‘Ideas’.  The plenary lecture opening the conference will be delivered by philosopher Mark Dooley, Scruton’s intellectual biographer.

For more information, please contact Dr. James Bryson: peter [dot] bryson [at] mcgill [dot] ca (peter.bryson [at] mcgill.ca)