Princeton University Press (2014)
The Soul of the World is a defence of the sacred against today's fashionable forms of atheism.
Our personal relationships, moral intuitions, and aesthetic judgments hint at a transcendent dimension that cannot be understood through the lens of science alone. To be fully alive—and to understand what we are—is to acknowledge the reality of sacred things. Rather than an argument for the existence of God, or a defense of the truth of religion, the book is an extended reflection on why a sense of the sacred is essential to human life—and what the final loss of the sacred would mean. In short, the book addresses the most important question of modernity: what is left of our aspirations after science has delivered its verdict about what we are? Drawing on art, architecture, music, and literature, Scruton suggests that the highest forms of human experience and expression tell the story of our religious need, and of our quest for the being who might answer it, and that this search for the sacred endows the world with a soul. Evolution cannot explain our conception of the sacred; neuroscience is irrelevant to our interpersonal relationships, which provide a model for our posture toward God; and scientific understanding has nothing to say about the experience of beauty, which provides a God's-eye perspective on reality.
Accreditation for Soul of the World:
One of The Times Literary Supplement’s Books of the Year 2014, chosen by Jonathan Clark
One of Flavorwire’s 10 Best Books by Academic Publishers in 2014
One of the Scotsman’s Books of the Year 2014, chosen by Alexander McCall Smith
Published in 2014 by Princeton University Press.