The soul of the world - Roger Scruton

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Title
The soul of the world
Author
Roger Scruton
format
Hardback
Publisher
Princeton University Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20140318

In The Soul of the World, renowned philosopher Roger Scruton defends the experience of the sacred against today's fashionable forms of atheism. He argues that our personal relationships, moral intuitions, and aesthetic judgments hint at a transcendent dimension that cannot be understood through the lens of science alone. To be fully alive-and to understand what we are-is to acknowledge the reality of sacred things. Rather than an argument for the existence of God, or a defense of the truth of religion, the book is an extended reflection on why a sense of the sacred is essential to human life-and what the final loss of the sacred would mean. In short, the book addresses the most important question of modernity: what is left of our aspirations after science has delivered its verdict about what we are?

Drawing on art, architecture, music, and literature, Scruton suggests that the highest forms of human experience and expression tell the story of our religious need, and of our quest for the being who might answer it, and that this search for the sacred endows the world with a soul. Evolution cannot explain our conception of the sacred; neuroscience is irrelevant to our interpersonal relationships, which provide a model for our posture toward God; and scientific understanding has nothing to say about the experience of beauty, which provides a God's-eye perspective on reality.

Ultimately, a world without the sacred would be a completely different world-one in which we humans are not truly at home. Yet despite the shrinking place for the sacred in today's world, Scruton says, the paths to transcendence remain open.

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Roger Scruton is a writer and philosopher. He is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, and a senior fellow of the Future Symphony Institute. Among his more than forty books is The Aesthetics of Architecture (Princeton).

"For a vigorous, challenging, at times infuriating essay at recovering the order for human existence in its full dimensions from what can seem to be the overwhelming successful technological and scientistic culture we all live in, Scruton's extended meditation can hardly be bettered."---Brendan Purcell, VoegelinView

"Reading Scruton is to take delight in his clarity of expression and linguistic economy, and it's to feel as though you're in the hands of a guide who is unafraid of doubts and uncertainties."---Laura Keynes, Standpoint

"One of The Times Literary Supplement's Books of the Year 2014, chosen by Jonathan Clark"

"The interest of his project lies not so much in the conclusions themselves, but rather in the way he attempts to establish them. Most conservatives place great weight on contingent features of the human condition. They emphasize our cognitive limitations, our anti-social impulses and the sheer extent of our ignorance, or they delve into the details of human history in order to establish that the old ways cannot be abandoned so quickly. Scruton's conservatism is more rationalistic."---David Owens, Times Literary Supplement

"Its passion, imagination, and sensitivity to all aspects of our world mean that this is a book that can be enjoyed by humanists as much as by those who identify themselves as religious. Scruton's God is embedded in the human world, including our art, architecture, music, and literature to which he is such a fascinating guide, which is the right place for gods to be."-Simon Blackburn, author of Think and Mirror, Mirror

"For a vigorous, challenging, at times infuriating essay at recovering the order of human existence in its full dimensions from what can seem to be the overwhelmingly successful technological and scientific culture we all live in, Scruton's extended meditation can hardly be bettered."---Brendan Purcell, VoegelinView

"This is a rich and highly sensitive book, which engages the reader on many levels, and which approaches religion not doctrinally, but via the full range of human sensibility, especially moral and aesthetic, and our capacities for seeing the world not just in terms of impersonal scientific structures, but in deeply personal terms. Finely written and argued, the book is philosophically sophisticated yet accessible."-John Cottingham, Heythrop College London and University of Reading

"It is immensely entertaining to see Scruton run the reductionists to ground, then eviscerate them with the appetite of a hungry beagle. The Soul of the World is worth reading for the blood sport alone; but Scruton is after bigger game. His ultimate objective is the philosopher's trophy: meaning. And that, Scruton believes, lies in our experience of the sacred. . . . The Soul of the World is a highly personal vision of a reconstructed Lebenswelt. In a series of cogent, fascinating chapters, he explains why we should set our sights on the beautiful horizon."---Dominic Green, Weekly Standard

"Scruton's strongest ideas prove intriguing and thought-provoking in this relatively short book. . . . In the end, he has done both philosophy and religion a great service."---Arlice Davenport, Wichita Eagle

"[R]efreshing. . . . The Soul of the World is a short book that contains many insights about classic religious concerns. Clearly written and carefully argued, the text is rich and subtle, well worth reading and rereading."---Dennis O'Brien, Christian Century

"[A] beautifully written, elegant, and exceptional essay. . . . The essay is essentially an extended reflection on why a sense of the sacred is integral to human life. . . . Scruton's essay calls for a level of spiritual attentiveness to our surroundings."---Martyn Percy, Journal of Contemporary Religion

"There is a crying need for Scruton's sort of attitude that understands that everything rests on human subjectivity."---Angus Kennedy, Spiked Review of Books

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Faith.
Country of Publication
New Jersey
Number of Pages
viii, 205

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