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

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