On Terry Eagleton and Roger Scruton: What Kind of Thing Is Humankind?

Roger Scruton and Terry Eagleton aren’t natural bedfellows. As a conservative philosopher in the Burkean mould, Scruton tends to regard the past as a country from which we have strayed too far, while the Marxist Eagleton looks forward to a world that has broken free from oppression and exploitation. But while certain fundamental differences emerge from a reading of these two books, there is also a remarkable element of overlap. Applying themselves to the question ‘What kind of thing is humankind?’ both Scruton and Eagleton reject the crude dualism that makes a sharp distinction between body and soul, and between human beings and other animals, and reject as well the crude reductionism that sees humans as flesh-and-blood machines no different in kind from other species. [More here.]