London & New York: Bloomsbury, 2016
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In these conversations, I coax Roger Scruton to speak candidly about his vision of the world, about his early philosophical influences and about those who have shaped him personally and intellectually. This book reveals what life was like growing up in High Wycombe, how he survived Cambridge and how he came to hold his conservative outlook. It tells of Scruton’s rise to prominence while writing for The Times and sheds light on his campaign on behalf of underground dissidents in Eastern Europe. Ranging across topics as diverse as the current state of British philosophy, music, religion, and illuminating what lay behind Scruton’s abandonment of academia for his new life on a Wiltshire farm, Conversations with Roger Scruton is an intimate portrait of a writer who has felt philosophy as a vocation and whose defence of unfashionable causes has brought him a wide readership in Britain and around the world.
Here are some reviews:
London & New York: Bloomsbury, 2015
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Loosely based on my weekly column which I make available here, Moral Matters. A Philosophy of Homecoming is a philosophical work about home and rootedness, memory and identity, loss and love. Analyzing the alienation experienced by the self when disengaging from the social sphere surrounding it, it shows how the self can become re-rooted to time and place and restored to full humanity and happiness whilst moving in the virtual, hyperconnected world. It argues that we cannot truly prosper or progress if we choose to forget where we came from, or if we dismiss our inherited moral wisdom. And yet, in opting for loss, separation and homelessness, it seems we have done just that. We have opted for a rootless existence where alienation and amnesia are the norm. Moral Matters. A Philosophy of Homecoming is my attempt to offer an alternative to Cyberia. In caring for creation, conserving culture and saving the sacred we can once again make our home in the world and experience the consolation of moving from loss to love.
Here are some reviews:
- Sean Haylock, ‘Catholic Philosopher Challenges Modern Spiritual Wasteland’, in Crisis Magazine, August 14.
- Christopher S. Morrissey, ‘Many people exile themselves to Cyberia’, in The B.C. Catholic, August 22.
- Dr Pravin Thevathasan, Catholic Medical Quarterly, 65 (3), August 2015.
- Alexandra Slaby, ‘Home from Cyberia’, Dublin Review of Books, November 2015.
London & New York: Continuum, 2011. To order, click here.
This book originated in a series of articles which I published on Catholicism and the abuse crisis in the Irish Daily Mail. In it, I recount the testimonies I received from young seminarians who attended my philosophy classes at NUIM. Although I am a devout Catholic, I have sought to expose the moral flaws pervading the seminarian and clerical culture in Ireland’s national seminary. I also retrace a personal journey of re-appropriation of my Catholic faith which has been refined by the fire of the first revelations of abuse and by postmodern philosophical questionings about God. I explain the sacred meaning of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and advocate for the role of liturgy and for the restoration of the sacred in the moral regeneration of the Irish Catholic Church. Eoghan Harris reviewed it in the Sunday Independent in these terms: ‘Why Be a Catholic? courageously confronts what must be done if Catholicism is to survive as a religion of redemption. And while I think of myself as an atheist […] I found Dooley’s book free of special pleading. Unlike some Catholic apologists, Dooley does not perfunctorily acknowledge the suffering of children before rushing on to defend the Church: he dwells on the horror of what has happened. But when he finally turns to the reform of the Roman Catholic Church, he makes sense. A priest, he tells us, is not merely a social worker with a collar. He has to be first and foremost a holy man.’ (Sunday Independent, July 24, 2011) The book was also welcomed by the Catholic press: ‘This is a timely book that seeks to revitalize a faith that it all too apt to flag in this time of crisis. Dooley faces up to the clerical sex-abuse scandals, but shows us a church that still keeps the flame of faith alive… [his] heartfelt plea deserves to be heard.’ (The Tablet) ‘Mark Dooley is well qualified to get to the heart of the matters that trouble so many today: why bother with being a Catholic?’ (The Irish Catholic)
London & New York: Continuum, 2009. To order, click here.
Roger Scruton. The Philosopher of Dover Beach offers the first synoptic analysis of Scruton’s philosophical thought. In this book, I bring out the core ideas contained in 40 books written by Scruton over four decades, and provide the philosophical background to understand their genesis and their articulation. The different chapters of this book then explore the genealogy of Scruton’s thought and the various themes running through his works: personhood, sex and the sacred; aesthetics; Scruton’s conservatism and its economic, legal and environmental implications; and the defence of the nation state in the face of liberal internationalism. Stav Sherez, of the Catholic Herald, wrote that ‘Dooley’s book aims to show that Scruton’s ideas are proving more and more true to our current times. This is an important and challenging re-appraisal of an important philosopher.’ Meanwhile, the Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society reviewed it in these terms: ‘Beautifully written, clear, restrained, Roger Scruton: The Philosopher on Dover Beach is a masterpiece of concise exposition, a model of clarification and, above all, a pleasure to read. For anyone who wants a comprehensive overview of Scruton’s work, Dooley’s book is indispensable. There is no other work of this kind on the market. Short of reading all of Scruton’s writings yourself, there can be no better way to gain a clear understanding of this most significant of contemporary philosophers.’ It was also quoted extensively in an article on the philosophy of Roger Scruton published by Quadrant Online on May 30, 2014.
London & New York: Continuum, 2009. To order, click here.
The Roger Scruton Reader is the first comprehensive collection of Scruton’s writings, spanning a period of thirty years from 1974 to 2007. The book also includes a good number of unpublished essays. Those texts are grouped into the following categories: conservatism, the nation, sex and the sacred, culture, and one I call ‘homecomings’ which includes texts on conserving nature, the philosophy of wine, and hunting. Scruton holds Burkean political views and his book The Meaning of Conservatism was a response to the growth of liberalism in the Conservative party. At all times he is concerned to shift the right way from economics towards moral issues such as sex education and censorship laws. But he has in fact written on almost every aspect of philosophy – always in prose which is accessible and written with pellucid clarity.
London: Acumen Press, 2006; Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007. To order, click here.
The Philosophy of Derrida presents the core philosophical ideas of Jacques Derrida and an appraisal of their impact. In this book, I endeavour to make the language of Derrida accessible and to reveal the underlying cohesion of his diverse writings. Derrida then appears as less than an iconoclast for whom deconstruction implies destruction, but as a sensitive writer animated by a respect for institutions and a certain form of conservatism. This book which shows Derrida in a new light was reviewed by Professor Christina Howells, Oxford University as ‘Splendidly clear, lucid and well-argued,’ while Prof. John D. Caputo, Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion, Syracuse University regards it as ‘one of the most reliable and readable presentations of Derrida available.’
Albany: SUNY Press, 2003. To order, click here.
A Passion for the Impossible: John D. Caputo in Focus (2002) is the first detailed study of the works of John D. Caputo. It features contributions from Jacques Derrida, W. Norris Clarke, William J. Richardson, Merold Westphal, Thomas R. Flynn, Richard Kearney & Edith Wyschogrod. In particular, it includes an interview I did with Derrida which contains Derrida’s definitive statement on religion: ‘The Becoming Possible of the Impossible.’ Henry Isaac Venema, Brandon University, wrote that this book ‘sparkles with wit and intelligence and is of tremendous value… for those who are looking for an outstanding introduction to the key issues concerning contemporary philosophy and religion.’
New York: Fordham University Press, 2001. To order, click here.
In The Politics of Exodus: Kierkegaard’s Ethics of Responsibility (2001), I offer a new interpretation of Kierkegaard as a precursor of the ethical and political insights of Jacques Derrida. I argue that the connections between the two run much deeper than previously suggested. Indeed, as I demonstrate, Kierkegaard is not a proponent of asocial individualism, but rather of the notion of an open quasi-community which has influenced Derrida’s work. This book has been hailed by Professor George Pattison, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford University, in those terms: ‘Dooley’s writing is a pleasure to read – vigorous, clear, concise, full of light and shade, and with many a well-turned phrase. Based on sound learning and long reflection, this is a passionate and personal book – as writing on Kierkegaard should be.’ Meanwhile, Professor Richard Kearney, Charles Seelig Professor of Philosophy, Boston College, wrote that ‘Mark Dooley is a pioneering figure in contemporary philosophy of religion. His ability to combine critical continental insights with a sound grasp of the modern history of ideas makes this a rare book indeed’.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. To order, click here.
Questioning God (2001) comprises fifteen essays based on a conference organized by the editors (Mark Dooley, Michael J. Scanlon and John D. Caputo) at Villanova University in 1999. It explores contemporary thinking about God with special attention to the phenomenon of forgiveness. Contributors include John Milbank, Richard Kearney, Jean Greisch, Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, Kevin Hart and Jacques Derrida.
London: Routledge, 1999. To order, click here.
Questioning Ethics: Contemporary Debates in Philosophy, co-edited with Richard Kearney, is a major overview of debates about contemporary European ethical thought bringing together the world’s foremost philosophers. Including original essays by Paul Ricoeur, Alasdair MacIntyre, Jürgen Habermas, Jacques Derrida and Karl-Otto Apel, it considers the challenges posed by ethics and the transformation of philosophy by critical thinking. It discusses the most important contemporary ethical issues: history, memory, revisionism, responsibility and justice, democracy, multiculturalism and the future of politics.