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

Sir Roger presented with the Star of the Order of Merit of Hungary

On Tuesday 3rd December, the Hungarian Ambassador Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky welcomed friends and guests to announce that the Commander’s Cross with the Star of the Order of Merit of Hungary would...

30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution

On Friday 15th November  Sir Roger was awarded the Silver Medal by the Senate of the Czech Parliament in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which saw...

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour would crush civil society - UnHerd, 13 Nov 19

The 1989 uprising against communism in Eastern Europe was a bid for freedom, and for many commentators it was little more than that. The oppressors happened to be the Communist...

Scrutopia Summer School 2020

Now running for a fourth year, the Scrutopia summer school offers a ten-day immersion experience in the philosophy and outlook of Sir Roger Scruton, the British writer and philosopher who...

Recent Books

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...

Where We Are: The State of Britain Now

Where We Are: The State of Britain Now

Bloomsbury (November 2017) 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,...

2019 Events

Wed 31st Jul - Fri 9th Aug - 2019 Scrutopia Summer School

Thur 29th Aug - Sun 1st Sept - Scrutopia Alumni Meeting 

Thurs 10th Oct - University of Buckingham London Programmes - Masters in Philosophy

Scrutopia Summer School Wed 29 July - Fri 7 August 2020