Science and Poetry

Author(s): Mary Midgley

Routledge Classics

Science, according to the received wisdom of the day, can in the end answer any question we choose to put to it - even the most fundamental questions about ourselves, our behaviour and our cultures. Many go as far as to claim that science is all we need to explain the world. But for Mary Midgley, science, while undeniably a key element in this quest, can never be the whole story as it cannot truly explain what it means to be human. She asserts her corrective view that without poetry (or literature, or music, or history, even theology) we cannot hope to understand our humanity. Reading this remarkable book, which draws equally on both the great artists and poets for its inspiration, the reader is struck by both the simplicity and power of her argument and the sheer pleasure to be gained from reading one of our most accessible philosophers.


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Part 1: Visions of Rationality 1. The Sources of Thought 2. Knowledge Considered as Weed-Killer 3. Rationality and Rainbows 4. The Origin of Disillusion 5. Atomistic Dreams; The Quest for Permanence 6. Memes and Other Unusual Life-Forms Part 2: Mind and Body; The End of Apartheid 7. Putting Our Selves Together Again 8. Living in the World 9. The Strange Persistence of Fatalism 10. Chess-Boards and Presidents of the Immortals 11. Doing Science on Purpose 12. One World but a Big One 13 A Plague on both their Houses 14. Being Scientific about Our Selves Part 3: In What Kind of World? 15. Widening Responsibilities 16. The Problem of Humbug 17. Individualism and the Concept of Gaia 18. Gods and Goddesses; The Role of Wonder 19. Why There is Such a Thing as Society 20. Paradoxes of Sociobiology and Social Darwinism 21. Mythology, Rhetoric and Religion

General Fields

  • : 9780415378482
  • : Routledge
  • : Routledge
  • : 0.354
  • : January 2006
  • : 198mm X 129mm X 25mm
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 314