Science and Poetry by Mary Midgley - review by A C Grayling

A C Grayling

A Vital Debate

Science and Poetry


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When C P Snow famously lamented the division between the Two Cultures of science and the humanities, it was the scientific ignorance of those who studied the latter – and went on to be decision makers in politics, the civil service and the universities – that troubled him. Their inability to understand the nature and promise of science, he said, or the importance of research and of the proper conditions for it, too frequently either hampered the progress of knowledge, or resulted in false applications of the progress made.

The same unhappy quarrel continues today, but the other wav round. Now it is defenders of the humanities who argue that the intellectual dominance enjoyed by science is distorting our view of human nature and society. The atomism and reductionism that characterise scientific theories, they say, have led to individualism

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