**AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO 4’S BOOK OF THE WEEK**
*Picked as a Guardian read for summer 2022*
‘In philosophy, one must start from scratch – & it takes a very long time to reach scratch’
Iris Murdoch, Mary Midgley, Philippa Foot and Elizabeth Anscombe were philosophy students at Oxford during the Second World War when most male undergraduates (and many tutors) were conscripted. Taught by refugee scholars, women and conscientious objectors, the four friends developed a philosophy that could respond to the war’s darkest revelations. How, they asked, do we find our way through the devastation of what we have created? Not even the great thinkers of the past or the logical innovators and Existentialists of the early twentieth century could make sense of this new human reality.
So, in search of an answer, the four friends set out to bring philosophy back to life. Written with expertise and flair, Metaphysical Animals is a vivid blend of philosophy and recovered history – bringing back the women who shared ideas, as well as sofas, shoes and even lovers. Clare Mac Cumhaill and Rachael Wiseman show how from the disorder and despair of the war, four brilliant friends reinvigorated philosophy and created a way of ethical thinking that remains with us today.
‘[A] splendidly entertaining book, fizzing with character and incident’ Spectator’Invigorating… told with terrific fluency and humour’ Sunday Times