The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope (Paperback)

The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope By Roger Scruton Cover Image
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Optimism is fundamental to the human spirit and has sparked innovation across the centuries, but does it have a dark side? Renowned philosopher and author Roger Scruton argues that unchecked optimism can be dangerous--and that real happiness hinges on a healthy pessimism that recognizes the
limitations of human beings.

The Uses of Pessimism is a far-reaching yet concise assessment of how pessimism can compensate for the fallacies generic to the optimistic mind-set and enable us to live with our own imperfection. Spanning from ancient Greece to the current economic crisis, the book persuasively concludes that
optimists and idealists have courted disaster by overlooking the hard truths of human nature and by adopting na ve expectations about what can be changed. Scruton demonstrates how many optimism-fueled advances, from the railway to the Internet, reflect a careless pursuit of mastery that is at odds
with--and often undermines--the limited happiness that is the best we can obtain. He urges us to see pessimism not as dark and fatalistic, but as a hopeful point-of-view that favors a balanced appraisal of society and human nature as opposed to utopian wishful thinking. Ultimately, pessimism helps
focus our energies on the one reform we can truly master: bettering ourselves.

In the rigorous but lively style that is his trademark, Scruton throws down the gauntlet to readers, challenging everyone to reevaluate their assumptions about the meaning of pessimism. The Uses of Pessimism breaks down the fallacies surrounding the optimist's perpetually sunny worldview, offering a
voice of wisdom with which to rein in hopes that might otherwise ruin us.

About the Author

Roger Scruton is Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Oxford University. He is the author of more than 30 books, including Beauty and Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780199968978
ISBN-10: 0199968977
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: March 1st, 2013
Pages: 240
Language: English