An Intelligent Person's Guide to Philosophy

roger-scruton-guide-to-philosophyPenguin Books (1996)
"Philosophy's the 'love of wisdom', can be approached in two ways: by doing it, or by studying how it has been done," so writes the eminent philosopher Roger Scruton. In this user-friendly book, he chooses to introduce philosophy by doing it.

Taking the discipline beyond theory and "intellectualism," he presents it in an empirical, accessible, and practical light. The result is not a history of the field but a vivid, energetic, and personal account to guide the reader making his or her own venture into philosophy. Addressing a range of subjects from freedom, God, reality, and morality, to sex, music, and history, Scruton argues philosophy's relevance not just to intellectual questions, but to contemporary life.

In An Intelligent Person's Guide to Philosophy, Roger Scruton aims to present neither a history nor a survey of the subject (goals he's already met in his Modern Philosophy and A Short History of Modern Philosophy). Rather, he attempts to make philosophy interesting by showing why it is interesting to him. Thus the book's 12 short chapters deal not only with philosophy's old standards--truth, time, freedom, God--but also with topics that not all philosophers would regard as central, such as sex and music. The views of other philosophers peek through from time to time: several pages are devoted to savaging the French historian Michel Foucault and the American jurist Richard Posner, while the influences of Scruton's philosophical heroes, Kant and Wittgenstein, are detectable everywhere. Still, Scruton's primary concern is to present the problems and lay out their possible solutions as he sees them. True to the standards of the Anglo-American tradition of philosophy to which he declares allegiance, Scruton writes clearly, precisely, and honestly. At times he can be unnecessarily cagey: there is no telling, for example, on the basis of his chapter on God whether he in fact believes in God. But for the most part he is forthright, even when espousing controversial positions, such as claiming a uniquely privileged moral status for heterosexual monogamy. All in all, the intelligent person who reads Scruton's book can expect to learn how another intelligent person, who has thought long and hard, views philosophy. --Glenn Branch

ISBN-10: 0140275169, ISBN-13: 978-0140275162. Paperback: 176 pages

Buy from Amazon

Latest Articles

The attack of the Blob - Spectator Life Jun 17

I have been reading a collection of intriguing articles entitled What Matters Most by the late Sir Chris Woodhead, a courageous and outspoken defender of real knowledge in a sphere...

Delingpole with James Delingpole - The Podcast

James Delingpole interviewed Roger in June and here is the podcast.  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/delingpole-james-delingpole/id1163810679?mt=2

'Post-Truth? Its pure nonsense' - The Spectator 10 Jun 17

For as long as there have been politicians, they have lied, fabricated and deceived. The manufacture of falsehood has changed over time, as the machinery becomes more sophisticated. Straight lies...

The Case for Nations - WSJ, June 17

The ‘we’ of the nation-state binds people together, builds an important legacy of social trust and blunts the sharp edges of globalization.There is a respectable opinion among educated people that...

Recent Books

The Ring of Truth

The Ring of Truth

Penguin Books (June 2016) Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung is one of the greatest works of art created in modern times, and has fascinated both critics and devotees for...

Confessions of a Heretic

Confessions of a Heretic

Notting Hill Editions (March 2016) Twelve hard-hitting essays arising from a decade of engagement with the public culture of Britain and America that touch on matters of concern to all...

On Human Nature

On Human Nature

Princeton University Press (February 2017) In this short book, acclaimed writer and philosopher Roger Scruton presents an original and radical defense of human uniqueness. Confronting the views of evolutionary psychologists,...

2017 Events

6 July - Graduation Talk, Kings School, Chester

30 July - 8 Aug - Scrutopia Summer School

29 June - 'How to be a Conservative' The Berlin Conservative Library

24-27 Aug - Alpine Fellowship Annual Symposium, Venice

11 July - Ways With Words Festival, Dartington

14 July - Music and Philosophy Study Group Event. King's College, London

Copyright © Roger Scruton. All Rights Reserved.

Website by Mindvision