Mary Beatrice Midgley (née Scrutton; born 13 September 1919) is an English moral philosopher. She was a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Newcastle University and is known for her work on science, ethics and animal rights. She wrote her first book, Beast And Man (1978), when she was in her fifties. Subsequently she has written over 15 other books, including Animals And Why They Matter (1983), Wickedness (1984), The Ethical Primate (1994), Evolution as a Religion (1985), and Science as Salvation (1992). She has been awarded honorary doctorates by both Durham and Newcastle universities. Her autobiography, The Owl of Minerva, was published in 2005.Midgley strongly opposes reductionism and scientism, and any attempts to make science a substitute for the humanities—a role for which it is, she argues, wholly inadequate. She has written extensively about what philosophers can learn from nature, particularly from animals. A number of her books and articles have discussed philosophical ideas appearing in popular science, including those of Richard Dawkins. She has also written in favour of a moral interpretation of the Gaia hypothesis. The Guardian has described her as a fiercely combative philosopher and the UK's ""foremost scourge of 'scientific pretension.'""