"Midgley writes perceptively -- and beautifully -- about many things. But, in the end, it is the poetry, including the poetry of Midgley's prose, that makes the book worth reading."
--Philip Clayton, Nature
Science, according to the received wisdom of the day, can in the end answer any question we choose to put to it -- even the most fundamental questions about ourselves, our behavior and our cultures. Many go as far as to claim that science is all we need to explain the world. But for Mary Midgley, science, while undeniably a key element in this quest, can never be the whole story as it cannot truly explain what it means to be human. In this typically crusading work, universally acclaimed as a classic on first publication, she powerfully asserts her corrective view that without poetry (or literature, or music, or history, even theology) we cannot hope to understand our humanity. Reading this remarkable book, which draws equally on both the great artists and poets for its inspiration, the reader is struck by both the simplicity and power of her argument and the sheer pleasure to be gained from reading one of our most accessible philosophers.