, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 205-206
Date: 21 Nov 2012

Review of Roger Scruton, The Face Of God: The Gifford Lectures 2010

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A useful way of approaching what God’s face is like is by beginning with the human face and the self that expresses itself in it, which is the starting point of Scruton’s account.

Just what the self is or is not is one of the themes of the book. Most basically, it is not an object; it is a subject. (A Kantian metaphysic underlies the book.) Descartes was mistaken about the self. He thought it was a unitary substance revealed by introspective thoughts. On the contrary, ‘While I can say of myself that I am this, here, now, those words contain no information about what I am in the world of space and time’ (33). Shades of Hume! Scruton is at pains to emphasize that the self ‘is not a thing but a perspective’ (105).

He elaborates:

Subjects have no place in those laws (of physics) not because they are mysterious or supernatural, but because they exist only for each other, through the web of interpersonal accountability. Look for them in the world of objects and you will not find them. This is t ...

The author is formerly affiliated with Charles Sturt University, Riverina, Australia.