Link To Roger Scruton’s First Of Three Charles Test Lectures Hosted By Princeton University

In the Q & A afterwards, Scruton receives about as pointed a post-lecture questioning on his metaphysics as I’ve seen.

In the final moments, Robert George also posits that Scruton’s four presented categories actually rather resemble Aristotle’s Order of Nature and three of them Aristotle’s Practical Reason.

Interesting presentation by an interesting thinker, indeed.

Below is some criticism of Scruton from a Kantian-Friesian line of thinking.

Is there a turn back towards the Hegelian ‘we’ from the Kantian ‘I?’

However attractive and practical Scruton’s deployment of the ‘lebenswelt’ in describing the day to day relationships in which we find ourselves (a tissue of contingencies, possibilities and ‘I’ ‘thou’ relationships); however useful the ‘lebenswelt’ might be providing robust criticism of the totalitarian ideologies and scientism of post-Enlightenment ideological utopians, are the Hegelian dangers to abstract, absolutize and collectivize still present?

‘Now, I think that this is an accurate and honest presentation of Wittgenstein’s thought, except perhaps for the notion of “an independent world,” which sounds like a metaphysical assertion; but it also makes it look like Roger Scruton has fallen into the same kind of dark well as the “nonsense machine” of post-modernism that he examined in his other book.

First of all, if we have decided that the “emphasis” of Frege on truth is now to be replaced with the “more fundamental demand” that our language conform to “correctness,” alarm bells should go off. There is in fact nothing more fundamental than truth, if we are talking about knowledge or logic (and not just “communication”); and “correctness” could mean anything, varying with the standard that is applied to judge it. But we quickly get what the standard of “correctness” is, and that is the “common usage” that has “created the rules,” outside of which we cannot “look,” to govern our linguistic practice. These are rules that the invididual cannot decide for himself but that somehow “we,” collectively, in our “form of life” have created.

Key points there are that the autonomous individual and the “independent world” have both dropped out of the treatment. Scruton, as we might suspect for a Hegelian, does not speak up for the individual, but even his explicit invocation of the “independent world” is immediately voided by the assertion that only language itself, in its practice, correctness, and form of life, determines what is going to stand as the equivalent of truth. Thus, the chilling absurdity is that “the ultimate facts are language,” while, naively, we might think that facts are characteristics of the “independent world” that determine truth, as the Early Wittgenstein himself had said. In an objective world without facts, language is the substitute (whose status is somehow established by facts about the world).’

What are some dangers of the projects of reason in the wake of the Enlightenment, or stretching post-Enlightenment reason into a replacement for God, tradition, and Natural Law: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”Trolley Problems, Utilitarian Logic, Liberty, Self-Defense & Property

Leo Strauss tried to tackle that problem, among others with the reason/revelation distinction, did he succeed? How might this relate to the Heglian/post-Marxist project via ‘The End Of History’: Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

Addition:  As a friend points out:  Strauss is trying to get around the 2nd Nietzschean crisis of modernity, and the cinching and tightening of moral, political, and philosophical thinking into only an Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment pursuit of truth under Reason alone.  The Natural Right and Natural Law Philosophies, including and a pursuit of the truth which can involve religion (Augustine?), or Greek conceptions of the good and the true as applied to the city-state vastly broaden and prevent the inherent nihilism in these waves of modernity as Strauss saw them…historicism being one of these Enlightenment pursuits, from political science to the social sciences to Hegelian and post-Hegelian historicism…the logic is followed to its inherently nihilistic ends.  This poses a threat to individual liberty among other things…

Repost-From Bloggingheads: Robert Wright And Robert P George Discuss Natural Law

Full diavlog here.

Mentioned:  Natural Law Theory (Greeks and Romans…Aquinas) Utilitarianism, Mill’s Harm Principle, Kant’s potential relation to Natural Law Theory and his deontologism)….

Where I very much agree:  George’s acknowledgment that there may be no fundamental way to determine, in the aggregate, the utilitarian maxim.

***As to politics and man, and political philosophy, the people most convinced of their reasons and their own moral and ideological lights, often seem the ones most attracted to power and influence.

Make a chair, a seat of scope and influence, and all the wrong sorts seem to gather around eventually, quite certain they should be the ones sitting down.  The decent, and what’s decent in people can easily become subjects.

Addition:  Has George made the case for natural law…that morality is somehow a law…and connected to nature and that which is beyond us?

Who has the moral legitimacy to be in charge?

On This Site:  Somehow, the idea of philosopher-kings, and a group of men who’ve left the cave, only to venture back in guiding everyone with their reason is a little problematic for me.  It was that whole gold/silver/bronze thing…and seeing all the problems of the ‘intellectuals’ and ‘vanguard’ these past few centuries… Sunday Quotation: From the Cambridge Companion To Plato-T.H. Irwin’s “Plato: The intellectual Background’

What are some dangers of the projects of reason in the wake of the Enlightenment, or stretching post-Enlightenment reason into a replacement for God, tradition, and Natural Law: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”Trolley Problems, Utilitarian Logic, Liberty, Self-Defense & Property

Leo Strauss tried to tackle that problem, among others with the reason/revelation distinction, did he succeed? How might this relate to the Heglian/post-Marxist project via ‘The End Of History’: Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

What are some of the arguments for building a secular structure…or at least for deeper equality through the laws: : Repost: Martha Nussbaum Channels Roger Williams In The New Republic: The First Founder…From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum

Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”

Full diavlog here.

The church, and “subsidiarity”, as George defines it and makes the case (beginning at min 16:35), may be crucial in addressing the needs of people: as individuals, as families, as communities, and as a nation, while maintaining a focus on personal responsibility, economic opportunity, and perhaps preventing too much power from disassociating people from those they serve.   George is philosophically deep and offers a reasonable, practical philosophy extending from Natural Law.

Cornel West is still, in my opinion,…Cornel West.  He’s much concerned with poverty, black poverty, and the misery of poverty.  He is often more politically and philosophically left though he runs pretty deep.  He is an associative, literary/artistic type thinker, riffing, and in my opinion, a bit of a caricature of himself.

The two men work to find some common ground in this discussion.  Interesting.

Also On This Site:  From Bloggingheads: Robert Wright And Robert P George Discuss Natural Law

Where might libertarianism conflict with Martin Luther King’s thought… and does religious thinking still unite much more deeply than the current identity politics?:  Sunday Quotation: Edmund Burke On The French Revolution…the dangers of post Enlightenment reason?: Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”From Peter Berkowitz At Harvard: ‘The Reason Of Revelation: The Jewish Thought Of Leo Strauss’

Taking religion out of the laws, and replacing it with a Millian/Aristelolian framework?: Repost: Martha Nussbaum Channels Roger Williams In The New Republic: The First Founder…From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum

How might Nietzsche figure in the discussion, at least with regard to Camille Paglia.  See the comments:  Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful

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