Monday, October 31, 2011

Mostly about Books

I am slowly reading a book called Wisdom, Information and Wonder:   What is Knowledge For? 

I got the book simply because of its title, and am glad I did, though I didn't really know anything about it before I bought it.  

Yesterday I went looking for information about the author, Mary Midgley, and found this profile.   Also some more articles by her.  

She is an interesting person -- a British Senior Lecturer on Philosophy, educated at Oxford, a good friend of Iris Murdoch.  Midgley  published her first book when in her fifties.  She said about this: 

"I wrote no books until I was a good 50, and I'm jolly glad because I didnÍt know what I thought before then; if I had been an academic I would have had to publish, whether I knew what I thought or not. The idea that in philosophy or English you can have 16 new ideas a year is ridiculous." 

She is an atheist or at least an agnostic, but writes sympathetically about the role of religion and often acerbically about scienticism and academic philosophizing:

....she staked out a territory all of her own, examining how science comes to function as a substitute for religion, and how very badly it does the job.   It is entirely characteristic that her latest book, Science And Poetry takes its epigraph from Richard Dawkins, "Science is the only way we have of understanding the real world", and proceeds to dance all over this apparently reasonable statement. It's not that she considers science a bad way of knowing the real world. But it is only one among many, and one which must be kept in firmly its place.

When I was searching for articles about her I found several rather shrill hostile ones by atheists whose names you would probably recognize.    Here's a post in defense of her that I thought was interesting.   

Other books I am trying to read through right now in bits and pieces:

also I haven't given up on Keeping House:  A Litany of Everyday Life and hope to start blogging about it soon.  


  1. Willa, how do you do it? I admire you! (You won't believe this, but I was thinking about your former font, and I like this new one much more! Silly things!)I also enjoy the colors and your background.
    I've always wondered how you can read so much and so well. I guess there is a talent, like born musicians, etc. Not to underestimate the fact that you for sure would have cultivated the discipline and habit through the years.

  2. I will do Keeping House with you when you're ready. :)

    I am glad you share your writing notes. Thank you!


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!