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Mary Warnock's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Mary Warnock recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Mary Warnock's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Mansfield Park

Adopted into the household of her uncle, Sir Thomas Bertram, Fanny Price grows up a meek outsider among her cousins in the unaccustomed elegance of Mansfield Park. Soon after Sir Thomas absents himself on estate business in Antigua (the family's investment in slavery and sugar is considered in the Introduction in a new, post-colonial light), Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive at Mansfield, bringing with them London glamour, and the seductive taste for flirtation and theatre that precipitates a crisis. While Mansfield Park appears in some ways to continue where Pride and Prejudice left... more
Recommended by Mary Warnock, and 1 others.

Mary WarnockThis is an oddity but it is a highly moralistic novel. Fanny Price, the heroine, whom many people find rather tiresome, is a highly moral and articulate character and one of the things that intrigues me so much is that Jane Austen at the beginning of the 19th century had the correct view that you can’t be morally involved unless you feel strongly that some things are good and some things are bad. (Source)

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An essential collection of Anscombe's work on ethics and intention

Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe is considered one of analytical philosophy's most prominent figures and a leader in the field of virtue ethics. Ethics, Religion, and Politics: Collected Philosophical Papers, Volume 3, is part of a multi-volume compilation of her work surrounding the philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and ethics. This volume includes selected works relating to consequentialism, intention, and more, providing Ascombe scholars...
Recommended by Mary Warnock, and 1 others.

Mary WarnockShe was by far the most formidable woman philosopher of the 20th century. She was a disciple of Wittgenstein and she translated his books from German into English and was very instrumental in us all getting to know his work. She was a very high-powered moral philosopher but she also became a Roman Catholic. There is one essay in this book in which she says that if you don’t believe in the... (Source)

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If God is the author of our moral code, how can we challenge it? Has increasing secularism eroded traditional moral systems? Bishop Richard Holloway challenges our assumptions and offers provocative solutions to these questions. He argues that moral codes are human constructs. less
Recommended by Mary Warnock, and 1 others.

Mary WarnockThat is an amazing book, because it was written when he was still Bishop of Edinburgh. He was very much loved as bishop because he’s a wonderful pastoral clergyman but also a man of great learning and he was anxious to say that there’s no need to found morality on religion. There is a connect, obviously, between the Christian religion and the morality that he teaches, but people can be morally... (Source)

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This is a story. In this ingenious and spell-binding retelling of the life of Jesus, Philip Pullman revisits the most influential story ever told. Charged with mystery, compassion and enormous power, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ throws fresh light on who Jesus was and asks the reader questions that will continue to resonate long after the final page is turned. For, above all, this book is about how stories become stories. less
Recommended by Mary Warnock, Selina O'Grady, and 2 others.

Mary WarnockIt is a marvellous fantasy which is that there were twins born to the Virgin Mary. (Source)

Selina O'GradyThe book is about the struggle between the ideals of a religion and its actuality. (Source)

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David Hume is the greatest and also one of the most provocative philosophers to have written in the English language. No philosopher is more important for his careful, critical, and deeply perceptive examination of the grounds for belief in divine powers and for his sceptical accounts of the causes and consequences of religious belief, expressed most powerfully in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and The Natural History of Religion. The Dialogues ask if belief in God can be inferred from the nature of the universe or whether it is even consistent with what we know about the universe.... more

Anthony GottliebHis friends urged him not only to give up the idea of having it published in his lifetime, but even of having it published after his death, because they thought that it would condemn all this other works to the dustbin of history. (Source)

Julian BagginiHume is the main man. (Source)

Mary WarnockHume thought it didn’t actually make much difference whether you believed that God did design the universe or whether you didn’t, because if you could say nothing about this God then it wasn’t a very interesting belief to hold. (Source)

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