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Wisdom, Information and Wonder: What is Knowledge For? [Paperback]

Mary Midgley
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

May 23, 1991 0415028302 978-0415028301 New Ed
In this book one of Britain's leading philosophers tackles a question at the root of our civilisation: What is knowledge for? Midgley rejects the fragmentary and specialized way in which information is conveyed in the high-tech world, and criticizes conceptions of philosophy that support this mode of thinking.

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Wisdom, Information and Wonder: What is Knowledge For? + Science as Salvation: A Modern Myth and its Meaning + Science and Poetry (Routledge Classics)
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Editorial Reviews


'The writing is fluid, clear and graceful ... a rewarding book to read.' - Social Science Quarterly

'Midgley is very good on the hidden moral agenda behind much value free science' - Times Literary Supplement

'Midgley bravely strives to re-assert the unfashionable idea that the search for knowledge in general and philosophy in particular ought to have something to do with the acquisition of wisdom by individuals and with our living better as individuals and as communities.' - Anthony O'Hear, Philosophy

'Our educatonal mentors would do well to heed the author's plea for a redress of the balance between understanding and mere accumulation of information.' - The Scientific & Medical Network

About the Author

Mary Midgley was until 1980 Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. She is the author of Wickedness (Ark, 1984) and Evolution as a Religion (Methuen, 1985).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New Ed edition (May 23, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415028302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415028301
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,264,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greatly needed but tending toward repetition! July 11, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mary Midgley is a gem of a moral philosopher. Isn't the discipline supposed to be dead or something? Not so, says Midgley. In fact, this book in large is an argument for why moral philosophy is so important right now!
While the book mostly portains to science and its intersection with philosophy, she starts by lamenting the proliferation of disciplines and even sub-disciplines (or 'hyphonated disciplines, i.e. "Neurophilosophy"). Her beef is not with the fact that they are proliferating but in the fact that none of them wander outside their self-created boundaries. This is the first role, Midgley prolaims, for ethical philosophy.
Others, she says, involve practical application of scientific knowlege to life. Scientists generally aren't concerned with this area and that is neither right or wrong (although it'd be nice if it got SOME attention). They simply aren't trained for it. Philosophers can help. Also, philosophy, as its edges are not so rigidly defined, are good at thinking through issues like epistemology, ontology and in general, keeping an eye that science doesn't overstep its boundaries of demarcation (wherever that line might be). While this book was written too early, the subsequent advent of 'memetics' is case in point and Midgley, apropos, has been a fervent critic that science has overstepped its demarcation line.
While all this might seem like 'philosophies attempt to get in on the success of science", particularly to those who listen to Daniel Dennett and his ilk, Midgley's suggestions are sincere, well reasoned and not self-congratulatory in the slightest. This book should he read by scientist and philosopher alike. Also recommended, are her books "Beast and Man" (see my review), and "Evolution as a Religion".
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