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Nagel, Mind & Cosmos

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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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Thomas Nagel’s latest book, Mind & Cosmos, is getting a fair bit of attention, probably because Nagel is “out of step” with the dominant trend in Anglo-American philosophy toward naturalism. Many of our readers may know Nagel as the “bat guy”, or the guy who argued that even if you could know all of the neurological facts about a bat, you still would be no closer to know what it is like to be a bat (hence, physicalism is false). In this book, he’s arguing that materialism and Darwinism just cannot answer all of the questions we find interesting. Brian Leiter and Michael Weisberg criticize Nagel’s book here.

Time for a poll. What do you believe? Or: what options am I missing?



  1. NYC Skeptic says:

    Interesting poll, but incomplete. Option 4: “The universe operates in accordance with laws that can, at least in theory, be ultimately discovered by scientific methods, but why the universe exists at all (let alone the marvelous universe that we have) can never be explained by science, theology or philosophy.”

    I;ll choose option 4.


  2. atarb says:

    Until I know what it’s *like* to press the vote button, I’m not doing it.


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