Beast and Man

This book is a wonderful breath of fresh air and a book for non-philosophers as much as for philosophers. Mary Midgley ( explores the relation between men and other animals in an original but common sense way which has even more relevance to bioethical controversies today than it had in 1978 when it was published. It forms an introduction to the kind of ‘green’ philosophy now developing in Europe and America, and it has certainly strongly influenced a great deal of thought, both practical and philosophical.

Philosophers have traditionally concentrated on the qualities that make human beings different from other species. In Beast and Man (1978) Midgley stresses continuities. What makes people tick? Largely, she asserts, the same things as animals. She tells us humans are rather more like other animals than we previously allowed ourselves to believe, and reminds us just how primitive we are in comparison to the sophistication of many animals. A veritable classic for our age, Beast and Man has helped change the way we think about ourselves and the world in which we live. Essential reading.
Follow up an interest in Mary Midgely by reading her memoir The Owl of Minerva: A Memoir. Routledge, 2005. ISBN 0-415-36788-3 (

416 pages in Routledge paperback edition

ISBN 978-0415289870

Mary Midgely

Scroll to Top