MA Philosophy Programme 20-21

Purpose of the Course 

This MA programme is a continuation of the project established by the late Sir Roger Scruton at the University of Buckingham. It is a one-year, London-based programme of ten evening seminars and individual research.

The course consists of three modules which revolve around topics and areas of research that were central to the work of Roger Scruton. Guest lectures are provided by outstanding academics and internationally renowned philosophers.

Each seminar takes place at the Reform Club, Pall Mall, central London and is followed by a dinner during which participants can engage in discussion with the course director and guest lecturer. Due to Covid-19 we have decided to postpone all seminars to 2021, but we start the academic year in October 2020. In the first three months we will be meeting online. Supervisors will guide students in the research for their MA theses, and during the first three months we will also meet for online seminars on three classics of philosophy: Plato’s Symposium, Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and Sartre’s Being and Nothingness.

Examination will be by a research dissertation on an approved philosophical topic chosen by the student, of around 25,000 words. Guidance and personal supervision will be provided.

Course director: Dr. Alicja Gescinska.

Deputy director: Prof. Dr. Raymond Tallis.


1.    The Purpose of Philosophy: the uses Alicja Gescinska & 14-Jan
and point(less)ness of philosophy Raymond Tallis  
Module 1: Key Problems in Philosophy    
2.  Persons and Brains Raymond Tallis 28-Jan
3.  Idealism vs Materialsm James Tartaglia 11-Feb
4.  Truth and Quasi-realism Simon Blackburn  15-Feb
Module 2: Human Nature    
5.  Love: The Ultimate Human Value?  Simon May 11-Mar
6.  God, Value and Nature Fiona Ellis           25-Mar
7.  Guilt and Responsibility Theodore Dalrymple 8-Apr
Module 3: Aesthetics    
8.  Morality in Music  Alicja Gescinska 22-Apr
9.  Kant’s Aesthetics Sebastian Gardner 13-May
10. Taste and Judgement Barry Smith 10-Jun


Student Testimonials

The MA in Philosophy at Buckingham provides the perfect channel for curious minds to delve into the riches of all that the philosophical tradition has to offer. Those starting out in their exploration of philosophy will enjoy the breadth, while those with some exposure will relish the opportunity to deepen prior investigations. I felt empowered by Professor Scruton to critique The Canon, and the unique atmosphere of the seminars allowed my work to be critiqued in turn. Professor Scruton is a master of words. His lectures speak to the human condition and he tutors his students with care and zeal. I wholeheartedly recommend the programme to all prospective students. I.S

My year on the MA Philosophy by Research programme at the University of Buckingham was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It was a great pleasure for me to be able to study under Sir Roger, and to achieve a Distinction was testament to the incredible quality of the content, structure and the teaching offered on the course. G.C

The MA in Philosophy with Sir Roger Scruton was an intellectual and personal endeavor that far exceeded all expectations. Sir Roger is not just one of the world's leading philosophers and writers; he is also a superb teacher in the truest sense of the word. Sir Roger's unparalleled instruction was bolstered only by the program's community of friends, mentors, and scholars. The University of Buckingham's commitment to teaching philosophy under the direction of Sir Roger redounds to the University's credit.  H.S

The Masters of Philosophy by Research has been a profound experience both academically and socially. More symposium than lecture, the regular tutorials have provided a general survey of philosophy – from Aristotle to Descartes, Kant to Hegel — in a unique and engaging setting in the heart of Central London, while the research component has allowed me to investigate my topic, under the generous and expert guidance of Professor Sir Roger Scruton. All the while being supported by helpful and efficient administration and research resources. A.F

Sir Roger Scruton has influenced me ever since my undergraduate days. Now forty years on, I educate business leaders from around the world, all of whom seek success. From Roger I take my meaning of success, which is living the good life as the virtuous life, in its root sense of being fully a person. Studying under Roger has given me fresh inspiration to encourage leaders not to treat the lead as mere resources but instead to recognise the responsibility for their flourishing. Likewise, Sir Roger’s work has me urging the leaders with whom I work not to see themselves as instruments of abstract forces, but as those who need to know and act on what they stand for.  D.H








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