The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope

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9780199747535: The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope
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Ranging widely over human history and culture, from ancient Greece to the current global economic downturn, Scruton makes a counterintuitive yet persuasive case that optimists and idealists -- with their ignorance about the truths of human nature and human society, and their naive hopes about what can be changed -- have wrought havoc for centuries. Scruton's argument is nuanced, however, and his preference for pessimism is not a dark view of human nature; rather his is a 'hopeful pessimism' which urges that instead of utopian efforts to reform human society or human nature, we focus on the only reform that we can truly master -- the improvement of ourselves through the cultivation of our better instincts.
Written in Scruton's trademark style-- erudite, sweeping in scope across centuries and cultures, and unafraid to offend-- this book is sure to intrigue and provoke readers concerned with the state of Western culture, the nature of human beings, and the question of whether social progress is truly possible.

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Review:


"Scruton has approached his project with incisiveness, breath of knowledge, and clarity of expression. The Uses of Pessimism is worth arguing over." --Politics & Ideas


"While some of Scruton's conclusions may be controversial... he does present an intriguing case for using pessimism as a way to examine issues that affect current society. His clear and accessible writing will appeal to those familiar with the author's past works and also those with an interest in philosophy." --Library Journal


"Scruton has approached his project with incisiveness, breadth of knowledge, and clarity of expression. The Uses of Pessimism is worth arguing over."
-- Peter Lopatin, Commentary


"Score one for pessimism." --Peter Monaghan, The Chronicle of Higher Education


Book Description:

In this provocative and passionately argued book, Roger Scruton proposes that the greatest harm and havoc has been wrought on the world by those who have presented themselves as optimists and idealists, whether of the left or of the right. Rejecting such ideals, we should instead seek to replace such irrational - and pernicious - exuberance with a humane pessimism.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780199968978: The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope

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ISBN 10: 0199968977 ISBN 13: 9780199968978
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9781848872011: The Uses of Pessimism & the Danger of False Hope

Atlant..., 2012
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9781848872004: The Uses of Pessimism

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