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:
- Miracles and Physics (I finished it, but I didn't really understand it very well, so I'm trying to read it again).
- In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity by Josef Pieper
- Guide to Thomas Aquinas by Josef Pieper
- The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions and Methods by AG Sertillanges (a reread)
- Christian Reflections by CS Lewis