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Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference. In this Very Short Introduction, the renowned philosopher Roger Scruton explores the concept of beauty, asking what makes an object--either in art, in nature, or the human form--beautiful, and examining how we can compare differing judgments of beauty when it is evident all around us that our tastes vary so widely. Is there a right judgment to be made about beauty? Is it right to say there is more beauty in a classical temple than a concrete office block, more in a Rembrandt than in an Andy Warhol Campbell Soup Can? Forthright and thought-provoking, and as accessible as it is intellectually rigorous, this introduction to the philosophy of beauty draws conclusions that some may find controversial, but, as Scruton shows, help us to find greater sense of meaning in the beautiful objects that fill our lives.
Kant is arguably the most influential modern philosopher, but also one of the most difficult. Roger Scruton tackles his exceptionally complex subject with a strong hand, exploring the background to Kant's work and showing why the Critique of Pure Reason has proved so enduring.
Father of the Enlightenment and the last guardian of the medieval world, Spinoza made a brilliant attempt to reconcile the conflicting moral and intellectual demands of his epoch and to present a vision of man as simultaneously bound by necessity and eternally free. Ostracized by the Jewish community in Amsterddam to which he was born, Spinoza developed a political philosophy that set out to justify the secular state ruled by a liberal constitution, and a metaphysics that sought to reconcile human freedom with a belief in scientific explanation. Here, Roger Scruton presents a clear and systematic analysis of Spinoza's thought and shows its relevance to today's intellectual preoccupations.
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