Mary Midgley

A message from Ian Ground, which we can only echo:
It is with sorrow that I must report the death of the philosopher, Mary Midgley, at the age of 99.
My own and the sadness of all who knew her, personally, through her teaching or through her writings, will be mixed with a profound sense of celebration of a great souled life of the mind, lived to the full.
Mary’s death came quickly with the lack of fuss and drama and with the pragmatic sanity, that all who had the privilege of knowing Mary would recognize as her signature. She felt unwell, called a close friend to ask him to let her sons know and 45 minutes later had passed.
The last time I saw Mary, just two weeks ago, she had ready for me a copy of her latest book. What is Philosophy For?
There could be no more appropriate response from the philosophical community than to read and further recommend her last contribution to the life of our ideas and our culture. It is a work of wit and warmth, and of wisdom and warnings.
If you were touched, inspired or energized by Mary’s thought and wish to make your thoughts about her work known, please send your reply directly to me at I shall collate responses and make them available in subsequent memorial events. Please do ensure that that you reply off list.
There will be more eloquent obituaries than I can offer and events and publications to celebrate Mary’s life and thought.
But the most fitting tribute at present is the project to celebrate the philosophical thought of the Oxford generation of women philosophers of which she was part. Please visit to find out more. You may also be interested to note the coming Royal Institute of Philosophy series A Centenary Celebration: Anscombe, Foot, Midgley, And Murdoch 

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