1st Edition

Beast and Man The Roots of Human Nature

By Mary Midgley Copyright 2003
    408 Pages
    by Routledge

    408 Pages
    by Routledge

    Philosophers have traditionally concentrated on the qualities that make human beings different from other species. In Beast and Man Mary Midgley, one of our foremost intellectuals, stresses continuities. What makes people tick? Largely, she asserts, the same things as animals. She tells us humans are rather more like other animals than we previously allowed ourselves to believe, and reminds us just how primitive we are in comparison to the sophistication of many animals. A veritable classic for our age, Beast and Man has helped change the way we think about ourselves and the world in which we live.

    Part One: Conceptual Problems of an unusual species 1. Have We a Nature? 2. Animals and the problems of Evil 3. Instinct, Nature, and Purpose Part Two: Art and Science in Psychology 4. Directions without a Director 5. On Taking Motives Seriously 6. Altruism and Egoism Part Three: Signposts 7. Up and Down 8. Evolution and Practical Thinking 9. Facts and Values Part Four: The Marks of Man 10. Speech and Other Excellences 11. On Being Animal as well as Rational 12. Why we need a Culture Part Five 13. The Unity of Life Bibliography Index


    Mary Midgley (1919-2018). A philosopher with a special interest in ethics, human nature, and science, Mary Midgley has a widespread international following for her work.

    'This is a very important book ... Midgley has provided an urgently needed bridge between science and philosophy.' - Iris Murdoch

    'A brilliant and persuasive attempt to set us in our animal context, to show us to ourselves as at home in the world, and to indicate a morality for society without religious absolutes - a morality of which we see the rudiments in our brother species.' - The Observer

    'A wonderful breath of fresh air and a book for non-philosophers as much as for philosophers.' - Mary Warnock