The Soul of the World

The Soul of the World is a 2014 book by the English philosopher Roger Scruton, in which the author argues for the reality of a transcendent dimension, and maintains that the experience of the sacred plays a decisive role even in a secular society. Scruton supports the concept of "cognitive dualism", which means that a human can be explained both as a physical organism, and as a subjective person who relates to the world through concepts which do not belong in physical sciences, and without which it would not be possible to understand human life.

The Soul of the World
The Soul of the World.gif
Cover of the first edition
AuthorRoger Scruton
CountryUnited States
SubjectThe sacred
PublisherPrinceton University Press
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)


Scruton discusses the meaning of the sacred, evaluating and criticizing theories such as those of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, as put forward in works such as Totem and Taboo (1913), and the anthropologist René Girard, as put forward in works such as Violence and the Sacred (1972).[1]

Publication historyEdit

The Soul of the World was first published by Princeton University Press in 1994.[2]


Marcus Tanner reviewed the book in The Independent:

Lest any vicar feel tempted to pick up this book in search of inspiration for Sunday sermons, it should be pointed out that Scruton doesn't have much to say specifically about God or Christianity, except at the end. What he mostly defends in these essays is a thinking person's right to say no to a boiled-down Darwinism that reduces all relationships to contracts and all human behaviour and emotions to biological selection and adaptation. ... Scruton argues persuasively that much of what passes for scientific fact today is just the latest fashion in physics. But one wonders who would find this eloquent plea on behalf of the right to interpret things in various ways objectionable.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Scruton, Roger (2014). The Soul of the World. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. pp. 1–198. ISBN 0-19-507613-3.
  2. ^ Scruton, Roger (2014). The Soul of the World. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. p. iv. ISBN 0-19-507613-3.
  3. ^ Tanner, Marcus (2014-03-22). "The Soul of the World by Roger Scruton, book review: Preaching to the converted". The Independent. Retrieved 19 December 2015.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit