Mary Midgley

Mary Beatrice Midgley (née Scrutton; 13 September 1919 – 10 October 2018) was a British philosopher. She was a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Newcastle University and was known for her work on science, ethics and animal rights. She wrote her first book, ''Beast And Man'' (1978), when she was in her fifties. She went on to write more than 15 other books, 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 honorary doctorates by Durham and Newcastle universities. Her autobiography, ''The Owl of Minerva'', was published in 2005.

Midgley strongly opposed reductionism and scientism, and any attempts to make science a substitute for the humanities—a role for which it is, she argued, wholly inadequate. She wrote extensively about what philosophers can learn from nature, particularly from animals. A number of her books and articles discussed philosophical ideas appearing in popular science, including those of Richard Dawkins. She also wrote in favour of a moral interpretation of the Gaia hypothesis. ''The Guardian'' described her as a fiercely combative philosopher and the UK's "foremost scourge of 'scientific pretension.'"
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