Philosophy@Utah State

Home » Uncategorized » Thoughtful discussion of Nagel’s Mind & Cosmos

Thoughtful discussion of Nagel’s Mind & Cosmos

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 108 other followers

Old Main, USU


You need a Philosophy T-shirt! For more information, please click here.


* Interested in presenting a paper at an UNDERGRADUATE PHILOSOPHY CONFERENCE or publishing in an UNDERGRADUATE PHILOSOPHY JOURNAL? You should consider it! To see what options are available, both in state and out of state, click here.


• 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

Blog Stats

  • 196,917 hits

Philosopher Thomas Nagel recently wrote a book, Mind & Cosmos, which has caused quite a ruckus. The ruckus is due to the fact that he has long been a well-respected, influential philosopher, and yet this book challenges the adequacy of naturalism and evolution to explain our world. Many philosophers have risen up to defend this orthodoxy and have tripped over themselves in flagging Nagel’s errors. So it is nice to see what reads as an even-handed consideration of Nagel’s overall philosophical approach. Indeed, it’s convinced me to buy and read the book. An excerpt from the review, explaining Nagel’s “metaphysical rationalism”:

The starting point is this powerful proposition: “The intelligibility of the world is no accident.” That is, nature is at least in some measure rationally comprehensible. There cannot even be a hope for science without this premise, and that we have science is the strongest evidence of its plausibility. At the same time, nature has generated creatures capable of rationally comprehending it. In Nagel’s words, “Nature is such as to give rise to conscious beings with minds; and it is such as to be comprehensible to such beings.” And that is the heart of the matter: “The ability of creatures like us to arrive at such truth, or even to think about it, requires explanation.” We owe ourselves an account of “how the natural order is disposed to generate beings capable of comprehending it.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: