Mary Midgley, née Scrutton (born 13 September 1919), is an English moral philosopher. She was a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Newcastle University and is known for her work on science, ethics and animal rights.
Midgley wrote her first book, Beast And Man (1978), when she was in her fifties. It was followed by 15 others, including Animals And Why They Matter (1983), Wickedness (1984), The Ethical Primate (1994), Evolution as a Religion (1985), and Science as Salvation (1992). She was awarded an honorary D. Litt by Durham University in 1995. Her autobiography,The Owl Of Minerva, was published in 2005.
Midgley strongly opposes reductionism and scientism, and any attempts to make science a substitute for the humanities, a role for which she argues it is wholly inadequate. She has written extensively about what philosophers can learn from nature, particularly from animals. A number of her books and articles have discussed philosophical ideas appearing in popular science, including those of Richard Dawkins. She has also written in favour of a moral interpretation of the Gaia hypothesis. The Guardian has described her as a fiercely combative philosopher and the UK's "foremost scourge of 'scientific pretension.'"
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... ISBN 0-415-36788-3 (Midgley's autobiography) Earthy Realism The Meaning of Gaia ... on a Chance Wayfarer (1977) The Listener (Reprinted in Midgley, Mary Heart and Mind (1981) and MacKinnon, Barbara Ethics, Theory and Contemporary Issues (Third. 147–169 JSTOR 3749425 Freedom and Heredity (1978) The Listener (Reprinted in Midgley, Mary Heart and Mind (1981)) Brutality and Sentimentality (1979) Philosophy 54, No ...
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