In Memory of Mary Midgley

A philosopher of peerless conviction, whose work dared to make sense of 'this deeply puzzling world'

Mary Beatrice Midgley has died at the age of 99. Mary was a giant among philosophers, though she only published the first of her nineteen books at the age of 59, a feat which is unfathomable today in more than one respect. That anyone could start so late and produce so much, and so vibrantly (she produced in addition over 280 articles) is close to miraculous—her last book What is Philosophy For? appeared just a few days before her final birthday. But more than that, that a philosopher could wait until she was actually ready to say what she wanted to say is something that is hardly permissible today—‘I wrote no books until I was a good 50, and I’m jolly glad because I didn’t know what I thought before then’—she explained.

Mary was an adult among adolescents, but she remained in a permanent state of youthful rebellion. One of the constant themes of her work

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