The Uses of Pessimism & the Danger of False Hope Paperback – 1 Feb 2012
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"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
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
This would be an excellent book for a clever sixth former or someone at university who likes to think and does not merely follow the crowd. The Amazon price makes this a bargain and it is, amazingly for a philosophical book, a good book to take on holiday. It is required reading for those who think. It is not in itself pessimistic as the title is ironical and paradoxical. It is cheerfully realistic.
What is he arguing? Well He describes two ways of viewing the world - pessimistic and optimistic. Pessimists distrust change and prefer tradition & what has been proven to work. Obviously another word for this view would be "conservative" but without the connotations of the UK political party. Against this view is optimism - where change can only make things better. Against optimism, Scruton identifies 7 fallacies and illustrates each through a wide span of culture and history. For example, Scruton argues there is a best case fallacy - where any plan is only evaluated as if everything goes right (and ignoring what could go wrong). Scruton argues our current banking problems are due to this fallacy.
In the last third of the book, Scruton argues for a defence of truth (and how "optimists" twist & hide the truth) and causes of optimism for pessimists everywhere. Scruton is certainly not dogmatic - optimism has its place but it should not be the default position nor should change be made for changes sake.
I'm giving it four stars out of five as a book well worth the time and effort. Be warned though - it's bound to really annoy the politically correct.
Unscrupulous optimism, he believes, is based on a number of fallacies (each a chapter heading) and is incapable of listening to arguments or logic. It is not confined to ideology. It is seen, for example, in the financial world, where people believe that they can go on borrowing, and deal with debts by borrowing more etc, and simply will not realize that such a system is bound to collapse. They are like speculators and gamblers who trust that their activities will succeed and who regard failure as strokes of fate for which they are not responsible and which will be compensated for by upping the ante.
Scruton regards Keynes as one of the villains in the piece (reminding us, for good measure, that he was a "flippant aesthete" and a homosexual), and has qualified good words to say about Islam's condemnation of interest, of insurance contracts, of corporations ("from a moral point of view mere fictions"), and of limited liability, "a device for evading responsibility".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a valuable critique of the 'big batallions' of the modern world with their harmful 'one-size-fits-all solutions to every problem. Read morePublished 2 months ago by G. Denis Campbell
Always trying the rationality even when defending the-nowadays- undefendable.Published 5 months ago by Francisco Amaral
Very satisfied: Roger Scruton represents opinion which is now, almost, outlawed in Airstrip OnePublished 7 months ago by Derek Oliver Sibthorpe
excellent book- to the point, burns up so many myths that we live our lives by nowadays and accept as holy writ. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mr. K. Downey
An excellent book. Should be read by any one interested in how to change attitudes to achieve better way of overcoming the ills of the era.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
It is notorious amongst those studying the human sciences that predisposition to a world view (racism, altruism, conservatism) predates, in the mind of any given individual,... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Giles Penfold
A most useful corrective to much modern sloppy thinking and policy making. Whether you agree with all his views or not, Scruton is always interesting and challenging.Published on 29 May 2014 by Amazon Customer