1st Edition

The Ethical Primate Humans, Freedom and Morality

By Mary Midgley Copyright 1994
    204 Pages
    by Routledge

    203 Pages
    by Routledge

    In The Ethical Primate, Mary Midgley, 'one of the sharpest critical pens in the West' according to the Times Literary Supplement, addresses the fundamental question of human freedom.
    Scientists and philosophers have found it difficult to understand how each human-being can be a living part of the natural world and still be free. Midgley explores their responses to this seeming paradox and argues that our evolutionary origin explains both why and how human freedom and morality have come about.

    Part I - Introductory 1. Inner Divisions 2. Misguided Debates Part II - The Reductive Enterprise 3. Guiding Visions 4. Hopes of Simplicity 5. Crusades, Legitimate and Otherwise 6. Convergent Explanations and their Uses 7. Troubles of the Linear Pattern 8. Fatalism and Predictability Part III - The Sources and Meaning of Morals 9. Agency and Ethics 10. Modern Myths 11. The Strength of Individualism 12. The Retreat from the Natural World 13. How Far does Sociability Take Us? 14. The Uses of Sympathy Part IV - What Kind of Freedom? 15. On Being Terrestrial 16. What Beings are Free 17. Minds Resist Streamlining


    Mary Midgley (1919-2018) was one of the most renowned moral philosophers of her generation and the author of many books, including Beast and Man, Wickedness and The Myths We Live By. She has taken part in many broadcast events, including The Moral Maze and Woman's Hour.

    'Clarity of thought and exposition epitomise this book.' - The Times

    'This is common-sense philosophy of the highest order.' - Financial Times

    'Totally devoid of philosophical jargon and almost every page has a memorable phrase or striking image, as well as a fine sweep of reference ... a deeply humane and attractive book.' - Philosophy Now