Quentin Skinner, one of the greatest historians of the last half century and a world-wide recognised expert on Thomas Hobbes, will give 2 lectures at the Festival in Malmesbury Town Hall. Skinner, previously Regius Professor of History of the University of Cambridge and now Barber Beaumont Professor of Humanities at Queen Mary College University of London, is author and co-author of over 20 books and his 2 volume study, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, was named by the Times Literary Supplement as one of the hundred most influential books published in the last half of the twentieth century.
A professor with honorary degrees from Aberdeen to Athens, from Harvard to Helsinki, from St Andrews to Santiago, Skinner has been awarded major prizes for his scholarship, including the Wolfson, the Isaiah Berlin and the Balzan. His interpretation of Thomas Hobbes within the wider context of European, not just English, history has been the subject of a number of books, including the recent Hobbes and Republican Liberty (2008).
On Friday night 15th October there is an introductory lecture on Hobbes and one on Skinner. Entry is free. Other talks on the English philosopher Collingwood, who greatly influenced Skinner, and a comparison of Malmesbury’s great son to Plato and Karl Marx, and a biographical history on John Aubrey who was schooled in Malmesbury and wrote the biography of Hobbes, make for a fascinating Saturday, which ends with a Leviathan Supper.
On the following day, the public understanding of philosophy is explored by an outstanding gathering of scholars and writers, including Sir Anthony Kenny on the meaning of life, life as seen by the great French essayist Montaigne, philosophy in Russia, a panel led by Julian Baggini, Britain’s most popular philosopher, and a view of a modern Enlightenment by Matthew Taylor, director of the Royal Society of Arts and previously director of Tony Blair’s Downing Street team.
There is a coffee house and book shops and a friendly and lively atmosphere.
Tickets from the Town Hall are a steal at the price and further information is on www.philosophytown.co.uk.
Malmesbury Town Hall
Friday 15th October 5.00pm to 7.30pm
Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th October from 10.00am to 6.00pm
Tel: 0131 229 8242