The Myths We Live by

Front Cover
Psychology Press, 2004 - History - 192 pages
Mary Midgley argues in her powerful new book that far from being the opposite of science, myth is a central part of it. In brilliant prose, she claims that myths are neither lies nor mere stories but a network of powerful symbols that suggest particular ways of interpreting the world.
 

Selected pages

Contents

How myths work
1
Our place in the world
7
Progress science and modernity
13
Thought has many forms
21
The aims of reduction
29
Dualistic dilemmas
36
Motives materialism and megalomania
43
What action is
47
Biotechnology and the yuk factor
102
The new alchemy
108
The supernatural engineer
114
Heaven and earth an awkward history
122
Science looks both ways
128
Are you an animal?
135
Problems about parsimony
142
Denying animal consciousness
146

Tidying the inner scene why memes?
56
The sleep of reason produces monsters
61
Getting rid of the ego
68
Cultural evolution?
75
Selecting the selectors
82
Is reason sexlinked?
88
The journey from freedom to desolation
94
Beasts versus the biosphere?
153
Some practical dilemmas
158
Problems of living with otherness
163
Changing ideas of wildness
169
Notes
176
Index
185

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About the author (2004)

Mary Midgley was born Mary Scrutton in Dulwich, England on September 13, 1919. She was educated at Oxford University. While raising her sons, she reviewed novels and children's books for The New Statesman. She returned to teaching philosophy in 1965 at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. She was a moral philosopher who wrote numerous books including Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature, Evolution as a Religion, Science as Salvation: A Modern Myth and Its Meaning, Science and Poetry, The Owl of Minerva, and What Is Philosophy For? She died on October 10, 2018 at the age of 99.