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Desert Island Discs Presenter Kirsty Young
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Series 10 - 4. Can Science Save Us?

Mary Midgley

Mary Midgley

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sun 20 Nov 2005

Philosopher

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the philosopher Mary Midgley. For the last 30 years Mary Midgley has been one of Britain's leading moral philosophers. She has been called "the most frightening philosopher in the country" as a result of her ideas and the acuity with which she defends them. Her work is chiefly concerned with the role of science in our lives; whether human nature exists, and if so, what it tells us about ourselves; the concept of wickedness; and the part that art and religion have to play in telling us about human behaviour and experience.

Mary was born in 1919 in Greenford, the youngest of Cannon Scrutton and his wife Lesley's two children. She was educated at Sommerville College, Oxford and after university began working as a lecturer in the philosophy department at Reading University before moving to the University of Newcastle. She married Geoffrey Midgley, also a philosopher in 1950 and they went on to have three children. Her first philosophical book Beast and Man was published in 1979 when she was 50. Since then she has continued to publish books on a diverse range of issues. Now 86, Mary continues to live in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in the home she shared with her husband Geoffrey, who died in 1997.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Choices

Franz Schubert

2.

Franz Schubert

Die Post (from Winterreise)

Soloist: Peter Schreier with András Schiff on piano

Others who chose this artist

Edvard Grieg

3.

Edvard Grieg

Solveig's Song (from Peer Gynt Suite No. 2)

Soloist: Elisabeth Söderström Orchestra: The New Philharmonia Orchestra Conductor: Andrew Davis

Others who chose this artist

Benjamin Britten

4.

Benjamin Britten

Dirge (from Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings)

Soloist: Peter Pears

Others who chose this artist

Anna Russell

5.

Anna Russell

Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelungs (An Analysis)

Others who chose this artist

Ralph Vaughan Williams

6.

Castaway's favourite

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Orchestra: Academy of St Martin in the Fields Conductor: Neville Marriner

Others who chose this artist

Jean Sibelius

7.

Jean Sibelius

The Swan of Tuonela

Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Conductor: Sir Malcolm Sargent

Others who chose this artist

Felix Mendelssohn

8.

Felix Mendelssohn

The Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave)

Orchestra: The London Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Bernard Haitink

Others who chose this artist

Book

The Variety of Religious Experiences by William James

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

A solar hot water system

Others who chose a similar luxury

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