What Does It All Mean?

What Does It All Mean?

A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy

Book - 1987
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In this cogent and accessible introduction to philosophy, the distinguished author of Mortal Questions and The View From Nowhere sets forth the central problems of philosophical inquiry for the beginning student. Arguing that the best way to learn about philosophy is to think about itsquestions directly, Thomas Nagel considers possible solutions to nine problems--knowledge of the world beyond our minds, knowledge of other minds, the mind-body problem, free will, the basis of morality, right and wrong, the nature of death, the meaning of life, and the meaning of words. Althoughhe states his own opinions clearly, Nagel leaves these fundamental questions open, allowing students to entertain other solutions and encouraging them to think for themselves.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 1987.
ISBN: 9780195052169
0195052161
9780195052923
0195052927
Branch Call Number: 100 Nagel
Characteristics: 101 p. ;,22 cm.

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6675tap
Nov 28, 2014

This book has several problems which the author should by now have corrected with a new edition. For example, in the first chapter he wrote that "the philosophical raw material comes directly from the world and our relation to it", but later, on the same page, he asserts that, "Unlike science, it [philosophy] doesn't rely on experiments or observation, but ONLY on thought." (Emphasis added.) Another problem is manifest in Nagel's palpable anxiety about "inequalities". He cares deeply about "social justice" but lacked the courtesy to remind his intended audience ("people who don't know the first thing about the subject [philosophy]") that justice is a social virtue by definition. So, the "social" in "social justice" is redundant. The reader would do well also to suspect that the buzz term really means "social[ist] justice", and this in spite of Nagel's lament about the poor results of central planning everywhere it has been imposed. Now, there are other problems, too, but Nagel does raise important issues about epistemology, consciousness, physicalism, theism, etc. in a way which should prompt deeper thinking about them.

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atarascina
Nov 18, 2012

A very good introductory book to philosophy. Great if you're just starting out on the subject, or just reading for fun.

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