The Uses of Pessimism

roger-scruton-the-uses-of-pessimismAtlantic Books (2010)

The argument of this book proposes  that the tragedies and disasters of the history of the European continent have been the consequences of a false optimism and the fallacies that derive from it.

In place of these fallacies, here is a passionate defence of both civil society and freedom. The true legacy of European civilisation is not the false idealisms that have almost destroyed it - in the shapes of Nazism, fascism and communism - but the culture of forgiveness and irony which we must now protect from those whom it offends. The Uses of Pessimism is a passionate plea for reason and responsibility, written at a time of profound change.

"[The book] does what it says on the cover: it describes how useful pessimism as a cast of mind is in times when we appear to be ruled by people under the spell of various fallacies of false hope. Worse than that, the effect of other people's optimism (and I, like Scruton, use that term in a wider than usual sense) on the rest of us is often negative and sometimes downright destructive." Simon Heffer, The Telegraph

"Once you get the hang of the argument, much of it paradoxical, the case for a cheerful sobriety - for that, in the end, is what Scruton wants - is persuasive enough. More interesting, however, is the philosophical background, presented with his familiar encyclopaedic breadth and Nietz­schean clarity of expression." George Walden, The New Statesman

Buy from Amazon

Latest Articles

News from Scrutopia - 31st January 2020

Click HERE to read the latest from Scrutopia. 

Living with beauty: report of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission

‘Living with Beauty’ the report of the Building Beautiful Building Better Commission was launched on 30th January by the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick MP and Roger’s co-chair Nicholas Boys-Smith....

Building More, Building Beautiful.

We’ll make it easier to build beautiful homes, to end the myth that quality is the enemy of supplyhttps://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/25/make-easier-build-beautiful-homes-end-myth-quality-enemy-supply/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_em Robert Jenrick, Housing Secretary. (Sunday Telegraph ‘Comment’ section 25 January 2020)...

Advance Order: The Classical Vernacular: Architectural Principles in an Age of Nihilism.

The Classical Vernacular Carcanet Press (1995)  We have requested a new print run of The Classical Vernacular and are taking advance orders.  The essays, from the perspective of 'the classical vernacular',...

Recent Books

Notes from Underground

Beaufort Books  (2nd Edition October 2019) Set in the twilight years of the Czechoslovak communist regime, this novel describes a doomed love affair between two young people trapped by the...

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