Sir Roger Scruton obituary
Roger Scruton, who has died of lung cancer aged 75, was a philosopher and a controversial public intellectual. Active in the fields of aesthetics, art, music, political philosophy and architecture, both inside and outside the academic world, he dedicated himself to nurturing beauty, “re-enchanting the world” and giving intellectual rigour to conservatism.
He wrote more than 50 books, including perceptive works on Spinoza, Kant, Wittgenstein and the history of philosophy, and four novels, as well as columns on wine, hunting and current affairs, and was a talented pianist and composer.
A member of the traditionalist-conservative Salisbury Group, he helped found the Salisbury Review, which he edited from 1982 to 2001. This quarterly, which was circulated in the Soviet bloc, often in samizdat form, was criticised in Britain for having retrograde attitudes. In 1984 it defended Ray Honeyford, the Bradford headteacher who had disputed the value of multicultural education. Consequent hostility from colleagues prompted Scruton to abandon in 1992 his professorship in aesthetics at what is now Birkbeck, University of London, where he had started as a lecturer in 1971. Though he felt this had scuppered his academic career, in the event it freed him for activities and adventures on a wider stage.
In 1978, Scruton co-founded the Jan Hus Educational Foundation in Prague. Under the codename Wiewórka, Polish for squirrel (“a tribute to my red hair”), he gave clandestine lectures, assisted dissident activism, and smuggled banned works (disguised as unused computer discs) into the Soviet bloc. As a result, he was arrested and thrown out ...
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