The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope

The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope

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.

Title:The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780199747535
Format Type:

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

  • Mauro

    You know that what you are reading is a conservative book when:a) the text is very simple and clear, even though it conveys ideas about the most complex problems of human existence;b) the author leave...

  • Philip Cartwright

    Scruton's defence of conservativism (which he here calls pessimism) is thoughtful and well-argued. It's a pity, though, that he all too often descends into tired leftie-bashing as if the last 20 years...

  • Natalie

    This one is going to be grand, I can feel it....

  • Maurizio Manco

    "Quando l'irrazionalità trionfa, lo fa nel nome della ragione." (p. 7)"La libertà intellettuale così come viene interpretata dagli ottimisti [è] la libertà di credere a qualsiasi cosa, a condizio...

  • Joel Zartman

    Roger Scruton has some odd notions about the Bible. He seems not to realize that the believer’s hope is in God and as a consequence is a bit down on Jeremiah; Jeremiah is a pessimist in ways Scruton...

  • Juan-Pablo

    Roger Scruton is a well-known conservative, and has a reputation as a "darling" of the right. His defenses of conservatism are powerful and thoughtful, with very interesting philosophical arguments. T...

  • Dominik

    This book's readability is just right. It's not too easy read, as it's the case with those stupid pseudo psychological, sociological, pop-science books written to give a person reading those books an ...

  • Carl

    A comparatively easy read compared to some of Scruton's more philosophical works. Here, Scruton identifies several "fallacies" that plague the unbridled optimist and then demonstrates how they can be ...

  • Joshua

    This one was difficult to get my head around. Scruton is definitely an academic, certainly a scholar; I felt that I was listening to an overly long, rambling lecture and the hall doors were locked. "L...

  • OSCAR Ortega

    Nunca he esperado tanto un libro para recibir tamaña decepción. Si bien se comprenden los argumentos de Roger Scruton, y se entiende el esfuerzo que realizó el autor para tratar de desmontar las ba...