Sunday, September 30, 2012

John Haldane References Chesterton... a talk organised by the Iona Institute.

On Friday night I attended a lecture given by Scottish philosopher John Haldane on the topic, "Sex, Marriage and Love in Liberal Society" (I think that was the title and I'm too lazy to look it up). It's the second lecture organized by the Iona Institute that I've attended.

John Haldane is a very respected philosopher and there was a packed house-- in fact, the talk had to be delayed so that more chairs could be brought in.

I am not really a lover of all things Scottish (I am sad to admit), but I was completely charmed by Professor Haldane. He must have delivered hundreds of lectures in his life, but he showed a zest and a relish for the occasion that was both surprising and admirable. There was a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips through the whole event. He spoke fluently and incisively, neither blinding us with philosophical terminology, nor speaking down to us. And he showed a positive eagerness to answer questions and to enter into a discussion. (I should also say that, for once, the questions were real questions and not simply occasions for audience members to launch into a disquisition.)

He mentioned Chesterton twice-- once explicitly, when he spent a few moments discussing What's Wrong With the World, in relation to its chapter on education, and once more obliquely when he said he liked to think of Alexander De Tocqueville's Democracy in America as What I Saw in America-- which is, of course, the title of Chesterton's memoir of a trip to the States.

It seems that nearly every Catholic intellectual and writer has been influenced by Chesterton.

1 comment:

  1. It was an excellent talk.

    Haldane has written an article on Chesterton and Education:

    I have a copy if anyone wants to read it.