For your enjoyment, a few quotes from Thomas Nagel, the philosopher of consciousness who famously asked “What’s it like to be a bat?” (His answer: we’ll never know.)
To my mind (as it were), Nagel is one of the most readable philosophers out there.
These are all from “The View From Nowhere.”
— “I believe there is little to be said for it.”
— “Each of us has been around for as long as he can remember. It seems like the natural condition of things.”
— “If truth is our aim, we must be resigned to achieving it to a very limited extent, and without certainty.”
— “If you want the truth rather than merely something to say, you will have a good deal less to say.”
On being human:
— “The human race has a strong disposition to adore itself, in spite of its record.”
— “Our constitutional self-absorption together with our capacity to recognize its excessiveness make us irreducibly absurd.”
— “Philosophy is after eternal and non-local truth, even though we know that’s not what we’re going to get.”
— “Philosophy is the childhood of the intellect, and a culture that tries to skip it will never grow up.”
— “I would rather live an absurd life engaged in the particular than a seamless transcendental life immersed in the universal.”
Thank you, Leslie!
Sorry about the misspelling, Lesley!
Happens awl the time!
A lot like Ambrose Bierce. But a little less toothy.
Ah, but what you sacrifice in bite you gain in depth!
Did you read Nagel’s book on Mind and Cosmos: Why the NeoDarwinian Materialist Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False?
Please check out this excellent review by Alvin Platinga
I did read Mind and Cosmos, but found it disappointing, especially for Nagel. Very anthropocentric, and oddly reliant on personal intuition rather than real thought. Nagel sets high store by his intuition, but as another reviewer commented in the New York Review of Books, “does anyone find it intuitive that we’re hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour?” http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/feb/07/awaiting-new-darwin/
Thanks for your reply. I checked the link you sent.
Please check out the following for an engaging series on “Nagel and his critics.”
I think Edward Feser is an excellent philosopher on many issues.
With regards to your disappointment Mind and Cosmos on with regard to intuition and anthropomorphism,
please also check this the following.
I think this very brief blog post correctly exposes couple errors of reasoning in the NYTimes review you linked.