Pleasure vs Happiness

A version of this paper appeared in The Spectator magazine - 28.3.2013

 You don't have to be a philosopher, given to abstruse reflection on concepts, to recognise that pleasure and happiness are not the same. There are wicked pleasures, destructive pleasures, addictive pleasures, despicable pleasures: but there is no such thing as wicked, destructive, addictive or despicable happiness.

My Intellectual Identity

I have worked in many fields, and I think it might help my readers to explain how this came about. At school I studied the natural sciences and went on a Science scholarship to Cambridge. But before arriving in Cambridge I had discovered music, art and literature, and had formed the intention to be a writer – not knowing whether I had either the talent or the opportunities to pursue such a career.

Confessions of a Sceptical Francophile

When I first became interested in philosophy, in the early 1960s, it was because I had discovered books, and books had taught me that there are mysteries concealed in human society, in consciousness, in being itself, which are the legitimate concern and inspiration of every thinking person. Reading Kafka, Rilke and T.S. Eliot, I came, as a teenager, to think that literature had no other task than to explore and decipher these mysteries, and that beautiful writing is another name for the kind of revelation that those authors promise.

Marriage: Union for the Future or Contract for the Present

ResPublica Green Paper by Roger Scruton & Phillip Blond - 3.2.2013

To coincide with the Parliamentary debate on the Government's Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, the latest publication from ResPublica, Marriage: Union for the future or contract for the present, criticises the Bill for compromising the meaning of both traditional heterosexual marriage and homosexual partnership.

Border control must be at the heart of an EU renegotiations

Conservative Home - 24.1.2013

The greatest difference between being governed by a national Parliament and being governed by a treaty is that, in the former case, law can be made immediately, in response to every change in the situation of those affected by it, and mistakes can be rectified before their full toll of destruction has been reaped.

The Conservative Neglect of Culture

Thinkers' Corner at Conservative Home - 22.12.2012

Nobody knows what a cultural policy should aim at, what means it should use, or how it could lead to legislation or other political initiatives. Hence, in Conservative Party thinking, considerations of culture remain on the margins. Worse, as in so many areas of political life, the Conservatives seem to have abandoned this fertile territory to the Left.

Tally ho! Let the hunt remind us who we are

Daily Telegraph - 26.12.2012

This morning hundreds of hunts across the Kingdom will be assembling for the Boxing Day meet. My family and I will appear in our polished uniforms on polished horses to stand ceremonially among our neighbours in Cirencester Park.

Facing up to Darwin

American Spectator - February 2012

It is fair to say that "Darwin's dangerous idea," as Daniel Dennett has described it, has caused more trouble to the ordinary conscience than just about any other scientific hypothesis. We cannot easily reject the theory of evolution, which explains so much that we observe in the lives of plants and animals; and we cannot easily accept it either, when it comes to understanding human beings.

Conservatism and Climate

Huffington Post - 9.5.2012

In How to Think Seriously About the Planet, I argue that environmental degradation has one cause above all others, which is the propensity of human beings to take the benefit, and to leave the costs to someone else, preferably someone far away in space or time, whose protests can be safely ignored.

When will the Conservative Party fight for England?

Conservative Home - 5.1.2013

We know that electoral boundaries are currently drawn in ways that disadvantage the Conservative party.

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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