Feared and admired in equal measure, Mary Midgley has carefully yet profoundly challenged many of the scientific and moral orthodoxies of the twentieth century. The Essential Mary Midgley collects for the first time the very best of this famous philosopher's work, described by the Financial Times as 'common sense philosophy of the highest order'. This unrivalled introduction to a great philosopher and brilliant writer incorporates carefully selected excerpts from Mary Midgley's bestselling books, including Wickedness, Beast and Man, Science and Poetry, and The Myths We Live By. With a specially written foreword by James Lovelock, this classic text presents a superb and eminently readable insight into questions she has returned to time and again in her renowned sharp prose. This anthology discusses major topics, such as the roots of human nature, reason and imagination, the myths of science and the importance of holism in thinking about science and the environment.