Maxwell, Nicholas

Nicholas MaxwellI have devoted much of my working life to arguing that we need to bring about a revolution in academia so that it seeks and promotes wisdom and does not just acquire knowledge.

I have published twelve books on this theme: What’s Wrong With Science? (Bran’s Head Books, 1976), From Knowledge to Wisdom (Blackwell, 1984), The Comprehensibility of the Universe (Oxford University Press, 1998), The Human World in the Physical Universe (Rowman and Littlefield, 2001), Is Science Neurotic? (Imperial College Press, 2004), Cutting God in Half – And Putting the Pieces Together Again (Pentire Press, 2010), How Universities Can Help Create a Wiser World: The Urgent Need for an Academic Revolution (Imprint Academic, 2014), Global Philosophy: What Philosophy Ought to Be (Imprint Academic, 2014), Two Great Problems of Learning: Science and Civilization (Rounded Globe, 2016) a free ebook available online, In Praise of Natural Philosophy: A Revolution for Thought and Life (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017), Understanding Scientific Progress: Aim-Oriented Empiricism (Paragon House, 2017), and Karl Popper, Science and Enlightenment (UCL Press, 2017). 

I have also published many papers on this theme and on such diverse subjects as scientific method, the rationality of science, the philosophy of the natural and social sciences, the humanities, quantum theory, causation, the mind-body problem, aesthetics, and moral philosophy.  For a book about my work see L. McHenry, ed., Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom: Studies in the Philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell (Ontos Verlag, 2009).

For nearly thirty years I taught philosophy of science at University College London, where I am now Emeritus Reader.  In 2003 I founded Friends of Wisdom, an international group of academics and educationalists concerned that universities should seek wisdom and not just acquire knowledge (see

I have appeared on BBC Radio 4 “Start the Week”, and on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s  “Ideas” Programme. I have lectured in Universities and at Conferences all over the UK, in Europe, USA, Canada, and Taiwan.  For more about my work see .  ‘Arguing for Wisdom in the University’, a brief intellectual autobiography published in 2012, and many other articles are available online at .