An Intelligent Person's Guide to Philosophy

roger-scruton-guide-to-philosophyPenguin Books (1996)
"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.

In An Intelligent Person's Guide to Philosophy, Roger Scruton aims to present neither a history nor a survey of the subject (goals he's already met in his Modern Philosophy and A Short History of Modern Philosophy). Rather, he attempts to make philosophy interesting by showing why it is interesting to him. Thus the book's 12 short chapters deal not only with philosophy's old standards--truth, time, freedom, God--but also with topics that not all philosophers would regard as central, such as sex and music. The views of other philosophers peek through from time to time: several pages are devoted to savaging the French historian Michel Foucault and the American jurist Richard Posner, while the influences of Scruton's philosophical heroes, Kant and Wittgenstein, are detectable everywhere. Still, Scruton's primary concern is to present the problems and lay out their possible solutions as he sees them. True to the standards of the Anglo-American tradition of philosophy to which he declares allegiance, Scruton writes clearly, precisely, and honestly. At times he can be unnecessarily cagey: there is no telling, for example, on the basis of his chapter on God whether he in fact believes in God. But for the most part he is forthright, even when espousing controversial positions, such as claiming a uniquely privileged moral status for heterosexual monogamy. All in all, the intelligent person who reads Scruton's book can expect to learn how another intelligent person, who has thought long and hard, views philosophy. --Glenn Branch

ISBN-10: 0140275169, ISBN-13: 978-0140275162. Paperback: 176 pages

Buy from Amazon

Latest Articles

Settling down and Marking Time. CUSP essay series on the Ethics of Sustainable Prosperity

Can we create communities that are both prosperous and sustainable? And can we do this while retaining democratic procedures? These are huge questions and, like others who have addressed them,...

Is High Culture a Luxury or a Necessity? Country & Townhouse Magazine Dec 2016

Among the abundant luxuries available in our cities today, none is more richly pleasing to the addict or more cheaply obtained than culture. Take London. In the National Gallery you...

Environmentalism starts with loving our own - The Conservative Online, Jan 2017

Environmentalism has all the hallmarks of a Left-wing cause: a class of victims (future generations), an enlightened vanguard which fights for them (the eco-warriors), powerful philistines who exploit them (the...

The Virtue of Irrelevance - Future Symphony Institute Jan 2017

HOW MANY WRITERS, EDUCATORS, AND OPINION FORMERS, urgently wishing to convey the thoughts and feelings that inspire them, have found themselves confronted with the cry “that’s not relevant?” In the...

Recent Books

The Ring of Truth

The Ring of Truth

Penguin Books (June 2016) Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung is one of the greatest works of art created in modern times, and has fascinated both critics and devotees for...

Confessions of a Heretic

Confessions of a Heretic

Notting Hill Editions (March 2016) Twelve hard-hitting essays arising from a decade of engagement with the public culture of Britain and America that touch on matters of concern to all...

On Human Nature

On Human Nature

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

12 Jan - Buckingham Philosophy Group

10 Feb - North Cotswold Hunt Dinner

20 Feb - Social Context of Law Lecture, Inner Temple

27 Feb- Hoover Institute Dinner

28 Feb - The Second Annual Russell Kirk Lecture at Villanova University

6 March - The Ring, Talk at The Travellers Club

9 March - Buckingham Philosophy Group with Ray Tallis

13 March - British Academy Talk

20 March - Social Context of Law Lecture, Inner Temple

21 March - 'Faith and Reason' Christ Church, Oxford

30 March - Buckingham Philosophy Group with Simon Blackburn

3 April - James Madison Programme, Princeton University

4 April - US publication of Confessions of a Heretic

5 April - Collegium Institute and University of Pennsylvania

6 April - 'Virtue & The Arts- The Wheatley Institute, Utah

3 May - Buckingham Philosophy Group with Sebastian Gardner

Copyright © Roger Scruton. All Rights Reserved.

Website by Mindvision