On Human Nature

OnHumanNature

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, utilitarian moralists, and philosophical materialists such as Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, Scruton argues that human beings cannot be understood simply as biological objects. 

We are not only human animals; we are also persons, in essential relation with other persons, and bound to them by obligations and rights. Our world is a shared world, exhibiting freedom, value, and accountability, and to understand it we must address other people face to face and I to I. Scruton develops and defends his account of human nature by ranging widely across intellectual history, from Plato and Averroës to Darwin and Wittgenstein. The book begins with Kant's suggestion that we are distinguished by our ability to say "I"—by our sense of ourselves as the centers of self-conscious reflection. This fact is manifested in our emotions, interests, and relations. It is the foundation of the moral sense, as well as of the aesthetic and religious conceptions through which we shape the human world and endow it with meaning. And it lies outside the scope of modern materialist philosophy, even though it is a natural and not a supernatural fact. Ultimately, Scruton offers a new way of understanding how self-consciousness affects the question of how we should live.

The result is a rich view of human nature that challenges some of today's most fashionable ideas about our species.

Read more at Princeton University Press.

 

Latest Articles

When freedom came, God disappeared- Standpoint, 22 June 2020

Shortly before his death in January this year, the philosopher Sir Roger Scruton had completed an opera libretto, called An Angel Passes. It is now being set to music by the...

A Path for us all - The Critic, June 2020

When Roger Scruton was decorated by Victor Orbán at the Hungarian Embassy last December, most of those present knew that this might be the last time we would see him in...

Roger Scruton: A brief personal history of a great man - The North American Anglican, 6 May 20

Roger Scruton: A brief personal history of a great man by James Bryson http://northamanglican.com/roger-scruton-my-encounter-with-a-great-man/ James Bryson is a Humboldt Fellow in the Catholic Theology Faculty at the Ludwig Maximilian's University in...

Sir Roger Scruton, in memoriam: A Platonic Tribute - Die Bärliner, 12 May 20

Sir Roger Scruton, in memoriam: A Platonic Tribute by Ewa Atanassow https://blog.berlin.bard.edu/sir-roger-scruton-in-memoriam-a-platonic-tribute/ Ewa Atanassow joined The Bard College, Berlin as a full time faculty in 2008. She teaches in the Core and...

Recent Books

Wagner's Parsifal: The Music of Redemption

‘Wagner’s Parsifal – The Music of Redemption’  This short but penetrating book, by a writer who was uniquely both a leading philosopher and musicologist, shows us how Wagner achieves this...

Souls in the Twilight

Beaufort Books  (October 2018) As the lights that have guided us go out, people begin to wander in the twilight, seeking their place of belonging. In these stories, set in...

Music as an Art

Bloomsbury  (August 2018) Music as an Art begins by examining music through a philosophical lens, engaging in discussions about tonality, music and the moral life, music and cognitive science and German...

2020 Events

Scrutopia Summer School Wed 29 July - Fri 7 August 2020

Scrutopia Alumni Thurs 27 August – Sun 30 August 2020