Fools, Frauds and Firebrands

Thinkers of the New Left

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1408187345

Category: Philosophy

Page: 304

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The thinkers who have been most influential on the attitudes of the New Left are examined in this study by one of the leading critics of leftist orientations in modern Western civilization. Scruton begins with a ruthless analysis of New Leftism and concludes with a critique of the key strands in its thinking. He conducts a reappraisal of such major left-wing thinkers as: E. P. Thompson, Ronald Dworkin, R. D. Laing, Jurgen Habermas, Gyorgy Lukacs, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Slavoj Zizek, Ralph Milliband and Eric Hobsbawm. In addition to assessments of these thinkers' philosophical and political contributions, the book contains a biographical and bibliographical section summarizing their careers and most important writings. In Thinkers of the New Left Scruton asks, what does the Left look like today and as it has evolved since 1989? He charts the transfer of grievances from the working class to women, gays and immigrants, asks what can we put in the place of radical egalitarianism, and what explains the continued dominance of antinomian attitudes in the intellectual world? Can there be any foundation for resistance to the leftist agenda without religious faith? Scruton's exploration of these important issues is written with skill, perception and at all times with pellucid clarity. The result is a devastating critique of modern left-wing thinking.

I Drink Therefore I Am

A Philosopher's Guide to Wine

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1408194694

Category: Philosophy

Page: 220

View: 4118

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We are familiar with the medical opinion that a daily glass of wine is good for the health and also the rival opinion that any more than a glass or two will set us on the road to ruin. Whether or not good for the body, Scruton argues, wine, drunk in the right frame of mind, is definitely good for the soul. And there is no better accompaniment to wine than philosophy. By thinking with wine, you can learn not only to drink in thoughts but to think in draughts. This good-humoured book offers an antidote to the pretentious clap-trap that is written about wine today and a profound apology for the drink on which civilisation has been founded. In vino veritas.

On Human Nature

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400884667

Category: Philosophy

Page: 160

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A brief, radical defense of human uniqueness from acclaimed philosopher Roger Scruton 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.

How to be a conservative

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: A&C Black

ISBN: 1472903773

Category: Philosophy

Page: 256

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What does it mean to be a conservative in an age so sceptical of conservatism? How can we live in the presence of our 'canonized forefathers' at a time when their cultural, religious and political bequest is so routinely rejected? With soft left-liberalism as the dominant force in Western politics, what can conservatives now contribute to public debate that will not be dismissed as pure nostalgia? In this highly personal and witty book, renowned philosopher Roger Scruton explains how to live as a conservative in spite of the pressures to exist otherwise. Drawing on his own experience as a counter-cultural presence in public life, Scruton argues that while humanity might survive in the absence of the conservative outlook, it certainly won't flourish. How to be a conservative is not only a blueprint for modern conservatism. It is a heartfelt appeal on behalf of old fashioned decencies and values, which are the bedrock of our weakened, but still enduring civilization.

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Philosophy

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101174056

Category: Philosophy

Page: 176

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"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.

The Soul of the World

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400850002

Category: Philosophy

Page: 216

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In The Soul of the World, renowned philosopher Roger Scruton defends the experience of the sacred against today's fashionable forms of atheism. He argues that our personal relationships, moral intuitions, and aesthetic judgments hint at a transcendent dimension that cannot be understood through the lens of science alone. To be fully alive—and to understand what we are—is to acknowledge the reality of sacred things. Rather than an argument for the existence of God, or a defense of the truth of religion, the book is an extended reflection on why a sense of the sacred is essential to human life—and what the final loss of the sacred would mean. In short, the book addresses the most important question of modernity: what is left of our aspirations after science has delivered its verdict about what we are? Drawing on art, architecture, music, and literature, Scruton suggests that the highest forms of human experience and expression tell the story of our religious need, and of our quest for the being who might answer it, and that this search for the sacred endows the world with a soul. Evolution cannot explain our conception of the sacred; neuroscience is irrelevant to our interpersonal relationships, which provide a model for our posture toward God; and scientific understanding has nothing to say about the experience of beauty, which provides a God’s-eye perspective on reality. Ultimately, a world without the sacred would be a completely different world—one in which we humans are not truly at home. Yet despite the shrinking place for the sacred in today’s world, Scruton says, the paths to transcendence remain open.

The Uses of Pessimism

And the Danger of False Hope

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199798995

Category: Philosophy

Page: 240

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Ranging widely over human history and culture, from ancient Greece to the current global economic downturn, Scruton makes a counterintuitive yet persuasive case that optimists and idealists -- with their ignorance about the truths of human nature and human society, and their naive hopes about what can be changed -- have wrought havoc for centuries. Scruton's argument is nuanced, however, and his preference for pessimism is not a dark view of human nature; rather his is a 'hopeful pessimism' which urges that instead of utopian efforts to reform human society or human nature, we focus on the only reform that we can truly master -- the improvement of ourselves through the cultivation of our better instincts. Written in Scruton's trademark style-- erudite, sweeping in scope across centuries and cultures, and unafraid to offend-- this book is sure to intrigue and provoke readers concerned with the state of Western culture, the nature of human beings, and the question of whether social progress is truly possible.

The Face of God

The Gifford Lectures

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: A&C Black

ISBN: 0826432077

Category: Religion

Page: 200

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Roger Scruton explores the place of God in a disenchanted world. His argument is a response to the atheist culture that is now growing around us, and also a defence of human uniqueness. He rebuts the claim that there is no meaning or purpose in the natural world, and argues that the sacred and the transcendental are 'real presences', through which human beings come to know themselves and to find both their freedom and their redemption. In the human face we find a paradigm of meaning. And from this experience, Scruton argues, we both construct the face of the world, and address the face of God. We find in the face both the proof of our freedom and the mark of self-consciousness. One of the motivations of the atheist culture is to escape from the eye of judgement. You escape from the eye of judgement by blotting out the face: and this, Scruton argues, is the most disturbing aspect of the times in which we live. In his wide-ranging argument Scruton explains the growing sense of destruction that we feel, as the habits of pleasure seeking and consumerism deface the world. His book defends a consecrated world against the habit of desecration, and offers a vision of the religious way of life in a time of trial.

Where We Are

The State of Britain Now

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 147294786X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 256

View: 3329

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Addressing one of the most politically turbulent periods in modern British history, philosopher Roger Scruton asks how, in these circumstances, we can come to define our identity, and what in the coming years will hold us together. To what are our duties owed and why? How do we respond to the pull of globalisation and mass migration, to the rise of Islam and to the decline of Christian belief? Do we accept these as inevitable or do we resist them? If we resist them on what basis do we build? This book sets out to answer these questions, and to understand the volatile moment in which we live. Roger Scruton slices characteristically through the fog of debate with this sensible and profound account of our collective identity; essential reading for anyone interested in what it means to be British, what that might come to mean in future, and who wonders how we can define our place in a rapidly changing world.

The Meaning of Conservatism

Author: R. Scruton

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 0230377920

Category: Political Science

Page: 206

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First published in 1980, this contribution to political thought is a statement of the traditional conservative position. Roger Scruton challenges those who would regard themselves as conservatives, and also their opponents.

Conservatism

An Invitation to the Great Tradition

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: All Points Books

ISBN: 1250170737

Category: Philosophy

Page: 176

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A brief magisterial introduction to the conservative tradition by one of Britain’s leading intellectuals. In Conservatism, Roger Scruton offers the reader an invitation into the world of political philosophy by explaining the history and evolution of the conservative movement over the centuries. With the clarity and authority of a gifted teacher, he discusses the ideology's perspective on civil society, the rule of law, freedom, morality, property, rights, and the role of the state. In a time when many claim that conservatives lack a unified intellectual belief system, this book makes a very strong case to the contrary, one that politically-minded readers will find compelling and refreshing. Scruton analyzes the origins and development of conservatism through the philosophies and thoughts of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman, among others. He shows how conservative ideas have influenced the political sector through the careers of a diverse cast of politicians, such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Disraeli, Calvin Coolidge, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. He also takes a close look at the changing relationship between conservative politics, capitalism, and free markets in both the UK and the US. This clear, incisive guide is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand Western politics and policies, now and over the last three centuries.

Fashionable Nonsense

Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science

Author: Alan Sokal,Jean Bricmont

Publisher: Picador

ISBN: 1466862408

Category: Science

Page: 272

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In 1996 physicist Alan Sokal published an essay in Social Text--an influential academic journal of cultural studies--touting the deep similarities between quantum gravitational theory and postmodern philosophy. Soon thereafter, the essay was revealed as a brilliant parody, a catalog of nonsense written in the cutting-edge but impenetrable lingo of postmodern theorists. The event sparked a furious debate in academic circles and made the headlines of newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. Now in Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science, Sokal and his fellow physicist Jean Bricmont expand from where the hoax left off. In a delightfully witty and clear voice, the two thoughtfully and thoroughly dismantle the pseudo-scientific writings of some of the most fashionable French and American intellectuals. More generally, they challenge the widespread notion that scientific theories are mere "narrations" or social constructions.

A Political Philosophy

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: A&C Black

ISBN: 9780826480361

Category: Philosophy

Page: 214

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Presents a defence of social order, beginning from philosophical first principles which aims to be a systematic answer to liberal egalitarianism, and also a defence of the Western social, religious, cultural and political inheritance. This book also demonstrates that this inheritance is a reflection of the deepest truths about human nature.

Confessions of a Heretic

Selected Essays

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: New York Review of Books

ISBN: 1910749362

Category: Political Science

Page: 208

View: 6910

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Hard-hitting essays by acclaimed social commentator and philosopher Roger Scruton, guaranteed to provoke lively debate A wide-ranging selection that includes essays on architecture and modern art, the environment, politics, and culture. Each “confession” reveals aspects of the author’s thinking that his critics would probably have advised him to keep to himself. Roger Scruton challenges popular opinion on key aspects of our society: What can we do to protect Western values against Islamic extremism? How can we nurture real friendship in the digital age of social media and Facebook? How should we achieve a timely death against the advances of modern medicine? How should environmental policies be shaped by the government? This provocative collection seeks to answer the most pressing problems of our age.

Understanding Music

Philosophy and Interpretation

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1474270182

Category: Philosophy

Page: 304

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With Understanding Music and The Aesthetics of Music (1997) Roger Scruton set a new standard of rigour and seriousness in the philosophy of music. This collection of wide-ranging essays covers all aspects of the theory and practice of music, showing the significance of music as an expression of the moral life. The book is split into two parts, the first is devoted to the aesthetics and theory of music and the second consists of critical studies of individual composers, thinkers and works including essays on Mozart, Wagner, Beethoven's Ninth, Janácek & Schoenberg, Szymanowski and Adorno. Understanding Music will appeal to specialists in philosophy and musicology and also to music lovers who wish to find deeper meaning in this mysterious art. The Bloomsbury Revelations editions includes a new preface from author.

Modern Culture

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1408193507

Category: Social Science

Page: 192

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What do we mean by 'culture'? This word, purloined by journalists to denote every kind of collective habit, lies at the centre of contemporary debates about the past and future of society. In this thought-provoking book, Roger Scruton argues for the religious origin of culture in all its forms, and mounts a defence of the 'high culture' of our civilization against its radical and 'deconstructionist' critics. He offers a theory of pop culture, a panegyric to Baudelaire, a few reasons why Wagner is just as great as his critics fear him to be, and a raspberry to Cool Britannia. A must for all people who are fed up to their tightly clenched front teeth with Derrida, Foucault, Oasis and Richard Rogers.

Being and Time

A Translation of Sein und Zeit

Author: Martin Heidegger

Publisher: SUNY Press

ISBN: 9780791426777

Category: Philosophy

Page: 487

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A new, definitive translation of Heidegger's most important work.

Politics of Culture Other Essays

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781587316647

Category: Art

Page: 245

View: 3092

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"This work brings together Scruton's best essays from many sources, arranging them thematically. The book has four sections: Language and Art, Writers in Context, Architecture, and Culture and Anarchy. Though the essays are diverse, certain themes are developed in particular and then in general ways, and there are several important essays on writers and critics, that contribute to the reappraisal of their work - among them Dante, Andre Breton, Graham Greene, James Joyce, Sylvia Plath, Jacques Lacan,and Yukio Mishima"

Our Church

A Personal History of the Church of England

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: Atlantic Books

ISBN: 1782395040

Category: Religion

Page: 200

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For most people in England today, the church is simply the empty building at the end of the road, visited for the first time, if at all, when dead. It offers its sacraments to a population that lives without rites of passage, and which regards the National Health Service rather than the National Church as its true spiritual guardian. In Our Church, Scruton argues that the Anglican Church is the forlorn trustee of an architectural and artistic inheritance that remains one of the treasures of European civilization. He contends that it is a still point in the center of English culture and that its defining texts, the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer are the sources from which much of our national identity derives. At once an elegy to a vanishing world and a clarion call to recognize Anglicanism's continuing relevance, Our Church is a graceful and persuasive book.