Are You an Illusion?

Why today's neuroscientists need philosophy.

Mary Midgley, a moral philosopher and author, has been described as “the UK’s foremost scourge of scientific pretension”. At the venerable age of 94, she has published a new book, Are You an Illusion?, which examines contemporary approaches to the question of consciousness. As in previous books, such as Science as Salvation and The Solitary Self, Midgley seeks to challenge what she sees as the materialist dogmatism that dominates much of modern scientific thinking.

Here, Midgley explains the popularity of Richard Dawkins,
why genes aren't selfish after all, and how today's scientists could do with a little more philosophical training.

 

What does it mean to say that science is a form of metaphysics?

I take it that `science’ here means `physical science’, not just sys

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Alastair Moody 15 August 2014

Mary Midgley quotes Popper, approvingly, with his remark on "promissory materialism".
I would very much like to have Mary Midgley's view on the case Karl Popper made in support of science having (un-knowable) metaphysical foundations. I believe this is captured in Popper's statement, referring to his criticism of logical positivism, along the lines that the attempt to eliminate metaphysics from philosophy would also eliminate science. I am aware that Midgley refers (e.g. in 'Poetry and Science') to the regrettable absence from Popper's work of any discussion of the standards or means of assessment of the disciplines that are not science (in his terms). (This absence seems to be due to Popper having not much interest in non-science, and/or too much work in trying to address his treatment of the "demarcation" problem to positivist thinking). And Midgley is right I think to point out (again in 'Poetry and Science', if not also elsewhere) that Popper's work, in spite if his repeated efforts to correct the misinterpretation, came to be taken as a support for positivism. However, there remains Popper's basically Kantian view that all observation is 'theory-soaked', that the mind - the subject - is active in our acquiring knowledge. I would very much like to know how Midgley regards Popper's attempt to show the metaphysical status of the foundations of science.