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Science and Poetry

By: Mary Midgley

Taylor & Francis

Hardback | Dec 2000 | #111398 | ISBN: 0415237327
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £50.00 $65/€56 approx

About this book

A much needed and clear investigation of why and how science has so powerfully shaped the way we understand ourselves, our behaviour towards others and our place in the world. With her customary sharp insight and clear prose, renowned moral philosopher Mary Midgely criticises our 17th century inheritance of breaking the world up into small parts and observing them in isolation. This may work in science, but she points out how this kind of approach can be disastrous when turned towards understanding ourselves, our interaction with the environment and our relationships with other people. Drawing on examples from the Gaia hypothesis to the recent debate over memes, Mary Midgely spells out the unfortunate legacy of this situation: misguided attempts to reduce mind to body, political and moral individualism, and a needless backlash against science. With its forceful argument that the arts and poetry can help us reconcile some of these problems, Science and Poetry is essential reading for all those interested in philosophy and the relation between science and the arts.


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

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