Mary Midgley - "Science, Scientism and the Self"; delivered at the Ian Ramsey Centre - Humane Philosophy Project 2014-2015 Seminar. Chaired by Ralph Weir, Andrew Pinsent and Mikolaj Slawkowski-Rode.
Mary Midgley is one of the United Kingdom's most widely read philosophers. She taught for much of her career at the University of Newcastle where she is now an Honorary Fellow of the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre. She has published seventeen books, examining a wide range of topics across philosophy, in particular philosophy of science, moral philosophy, and animal rights. She is perhaps best known for her ongoing criticism of reductionism and scientism, which has spanned numerous texts both academic and popular. Her publications include Animals And Why They Matter (1983), Wickedness (1984), Evolution as a Religion: Strange Hopes and Stranger Fears (1985), The Ethical Primate (1994), Evolution as a Religion (1985), Science as Salvation (1992), The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene (2010), and most recently, Are you an Illusion? (2014), the latter being a response to Francis Crick's argument in his work, The Astonishing Hypothesis, that an individual’s sense free will and personal identity is to be understood as merely the behaviour of nerve cells. In 2005 she also published an autobiography entitled The Owl of Minerva: A Memoir. She was awarded an honorary D. Litt by Durham University in 1995 and an honorary Doctor of Civil Law by Newcastle University in 2008.