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 and Buy at Princeton University Press.

 

Latest Articles

Philosophy Bites with Nigel Warburton 29 Aug 17

Are human beings fundamentally different from other animals? Roger Scruton argues that we are, and that we need to think about ourselves in non-biological terms. He explains these ideas in...

'The Religion of Rights' BBC Radio 4 - 1 Sept 17

"European society", says Sir Roger Scruton, "is rapidly jettisoning its Christian heritage and has found nothing to put in its place save the religion of human rights". But, he argues,...

'Pottering towards the new socialist state' BBC Radio 4 - 27 Aug 17

Roger Scruton looks at the impact of Harry Potter on our world view. "People are starting to live in a kind of cyber-Hogwarts", he says, "a fantasy world in which...

'The Meaning of Conservative' BBC Radio 4 - 20 Aug 17

Roger Scruton asks: "What does the Tory Party really stand for?" He says the Conservative party at present is muddling along without a philosophy. But he argues that, far from...

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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

24-27 Aug - Alpine Fellowship Annual Symposium, Venice

2nd Sept - Philosophy in the Bookshop - Blackwells, Oxford

12th Oct - Cheltenham Literary Festival, Gloucestershire

15 - 17th Oct - Paris

21st Oct - Apple Festival, Sunday Hill Farm

29 Oct - 'Beauty & the Restoration of the Sacred' Conference, Chicago

30 Oct - 'Culture and Art in a Populist Age' ACII & EPPC Conference , Washington

1 Nov - Washington College

2 Nov - 'Tradition & Culture' Keynote lecture, Traditional Project, St John's Law School Centre for Law and Religion, New York

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