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.

 

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2017 Events

3 May - Buckingham Philosophy Group with Sebastian Gardner

17 May - 'Why Literature Matters' New College of the Humanities Debate

18 May - Buckingham Philosophy Group with Anthony O'Hear

22-28 May - Paris

1-3 June - Brain Bar Festival, Budapest

8 June - Buckingham Philosophy Group with Robert Grant

6 July - Graduation Talk, Kings School, Chester

30 July - 8 Aug - Scrutopia Summer School

26 Apr - 'The Idea of a University- The Richmond Lectures at Bristol University

14 June - The Wagner Circle, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

22 June - The Festival of Higher Education, Wellington College

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

2 May - A literary Dinner at Franco's

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