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Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet Hardcover – Jan 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848870760
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848870765
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 4.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 440,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roger Scruton is currently Research Professor for the Institute for the Psychological Sciences where he teaches philosophy at their graduate school in both Washington and Oxford. He is a writer, philosopher and public commentator. He has specialised in aesthetics with particular attention to music and architecture. He engages in contemporary political and cultural debates from the standpoint of a conservative thinker and is well known as a powerful polemicist. He has written widely in the press on political and cultural issues.

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A dazzling book --Sunday Times

Beautifully written and ambitious in its scope... An immensely readable book and a valuable contribution to the debate over environmental politics. --Independent

The Tories want the environmental agenda back and they have one of the best philosophers of our time leading the charge. --Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Roger Scruton is a writer and philosopher who has written on aesthetics, politics, music and architecture. He is Research Professor at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Washington and Oxford and is Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. His most recent books include A Dictionary of Political Thought; England: An Elegy; Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde; News from Somewhere: On Settling A Political Philosophy; Gentle Regrets and On Hunting.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. J. PIRES-OBRIEN on 24 July 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Joaquina Pires-O'Brien
Roger Scruton's Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously about the Planet is an outstanding book on the environment that shows how moral philosophy can be translated into policy. It is a massively comprehensive book that leaves no stone unturned in relation to rationalities and approaches that have been proposed to protect the environment, analysing them from many angles. There are two expectations behind his meticulous inquiry into the physical and the moral aspects of choices. The first is that it will provide all the facts needed to understand environmental problems; the second is that such understanding will recreate the moral connection between individuals and their immediate environment. As Scruton points out, this moral connection is already latent in humans and is based on the need for nurture and safety. These two expectations lead to what Scruton calls oikophilia, which literally means the love of one's home, which is the key to unlock the moral connection that motivates people to look after their environmental resources in a spirit of stewardship.

Oikophilia works, Scruton explains, by promoting human resilience, autonomous associations, market solutions, effective tort law, aesthetic side-constraints which emerge from open discussions among citizens, biodiversity, natural beauty, local autonomy, serious research, and a regime of pricing and feedback that return the costs of environmental damage to those who create them. These are precisely the kind of things `which have a healthy environment as their effect'. This long list of things is, of course, part of the conservative morality which Scruton recommends.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James Atkins on 5 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is very important because it gives a "right-wingers" view on how to save the environment. It rejects global agreements as being socialistic in nature, and suggests that environmental policy should go with human nature rather than against it, if we want it to be successful. Scruton identifies the love of home and respect for ancestors and (thereby) our descendents as that instinct which can be harnessed to get people to protect nature. He doesn't go much further than that - it is about the philosophy rather than the politics of the problem, so it does not say how to turn that philosophical grounding into an alternative political approach.

I think there are some simplifications and there is definitely a lot more that could be said on the topic, but it lays out the groundwork for a right-wing philosophy. Perhaps if right-wing climate change deniers were to read this book, they would feel less uncomfortable about accepting the science of climate change. For it would give them a basis, consistent with their own beliefs, for addressing the predicament.

Scruton exaggerates the difference between right and left wing in this matter. A more germane distinction comes out from his book if you persevere: the distinction between people who want to think big and global, and people who want to think small and local. He favours the latter, for many sound reasons which I agree with. There is a strong tradition (Steiner, Kohr, Schumacher) which describes the folly of big schemes and the wisdom of local ones. Scruton unfortunately does not examine thoroughly whether the small and local approach is adequate in the urgent situation we find ourselves in with climate change.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By F Henwood TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For many minds, conservatism stands for untrammelled market forces, aggressive commerce and rugged individualism. What can it have to say about protecting the environment? Plenty, says Roger Scruton.

For the last 30 years, conservatism has been equated with an aggressive market-oriented ideology we've come to identify with the likes of Thatcher and Reagan. But conservatism as a philosophy has a richer, more interesting pedigree. Conservatives such as Edmund Burke and David Hume were strong advocates for a market economy, but markets restrained by a network of civic associations and local institutions that accumulate social as well as economic capital, of which the environment, human and natural, is a part. Mrs. Thatcher may have claimed that there is no such thing as society but Scruton wouldn't say this.

It's this version of the conservative tradition that Scruton argues fits well with the concerns of the environmentalists. `Many environmentalists will acknowledge that local loyalties and local concerns must be given a proper place in our decision making, if we are to counter the adverse effects of the global economy...'(p.20) and communities `need to be defended against sudden and engineered change, not merely for the sake of their sustainable economies, but also because of the values and loyalties that constitute the sum of their social capital. Social capital is rooted in a community's love of a shared place (p25)'.

But whereas left-leaning environmentalists might say `think globally, act locally', Scruton says `think locally, act nationally.' For Scruton, humans everywhere are attached to `home', meaning that human beings' primary attachments are to persons and institutions local.
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