Human beings have the unique ability to view the world in a detached way: We can think about the world in terms that transcend our own experience or interest, and consider the world from a vantage point that is, in Nagel's words, "nowhere in particular". At the same time, each of us is a particular person in a particular place, each with his own "personal" view of the world, a view that we can recognize as just one aspect of the whole. How do we reconcile these two standpoints--intellectually, morally, and practically? To what extent are they irreconcilable and to what extent can they be integrated? Thomas Nagel's ambitious and lively book tackles this fundamental issue, arguing that our divided nature is the root of a whole range of philosophical problems, touching, as it does, every aspect of human life. He deals with its manifestations in such fields of philosophy as: the mind-body problem, personal identity, knowledge and skepticism, thought and reality, free will, ethics, the relation between moral and other values, the meaning of life, and death. Excessive objectification has been a malady of recent analytic philosophy, claims Nagel, it has led to implausible forms of reductionism in the philosophy of mind and elsewhere. The solution is not to inhibit the objectifying impulse, but to insist that it learn to live alongside the internal perspectives that cannot be either discarded or objectified. Reconciliation between the two standpoints, in the end, is not always possible.
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Thomas Nagel is University Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Law at New York University. His books include The Possibility of Altruism, The View from Nowhere, and What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. In 2008, he was awarded the Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy and the Balzan Prize in Moral Philosophy.
"In writing this remarkable book, Thomas Nagel has succeeded in combining qualities that are rarely found together. Its aims are intellectually ambitious, and their achievement involves the unqualified repudiation of cherished views held by many of Nagel's more or less eminent contemporaries....He engages with precisely those philosophical doubts and anxieties that the reflective nonprofessional may be supposed to feel, and that are often inadequately dealt with by those whose professional business is philosophy."--P. F. Strawson, The New Republic
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 1986. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110195036689
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Book Description Oxford University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0195036689 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0037790