**AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO 4'S BOOK OF THE WEEK**
'[A] splendidly entertaining book, fizzing with character and incident' Spectator
'Invigorating... told with terrific fluency and humour' Sunday Times
'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.
Joyful... These four are enlivening companions... four glorious heroines, confident and curious, focused on the world and not on themselves
Irresistible... Highly evocative... Bring[s] to life an important episode in intellectual history, and [has] made me again grateful that I was for a time a contemporary of these unforgettable women
Lively ... This fascinating work of historico-logico-feminism shows... how women fought their way on to the world stage of philosophy and turned its spotlight away from an analytical desert on to what was really important - moral clarity, wisdom and truth
The narrative is of four brilliant women finding their voices, opposing received wisdom, and developing an alternative picture of human beings and their place in the world... To read this story is to be reminded...that the life of the mind can be as intense and eventful as friendship itself
A very entertaining read that manages to turn dry, intellectual gymnastics into a high-stakes spectator sport