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Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False by [Nagel, Thomas]
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Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False 1st , Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Review

Mind and Cosmos is ... extraordinarily ambitious. Nagel proposes not merely a new explanation for the origin of life and consciousness, but a new type of explanation: 'natural teleology.' (George Scialabba, Inference: International Review of Science)

Nagels book is provocative, interesting and important (Simon Oliver, Studies in Christian Ethics)

Nagels arguments are forceful, and his proposals are bold, intriguing, and original. This, though short and clear, is philosophy in the grand manner, and it is worthy of much philosophical discussion. (Keith Ward, The Philosophical Quarterly)

This is a challenging text that should provoke much further reflection. I recommend it to anyone interested in trying to understand the nature of our existence. (W. Richard Bowen, ESSSAT News & Reviews 23:1)

[This] troublemaking book has sparked the most exciting disputation in many years... I like Nagel's mind and I like Nagel's cosmos. He thinks strictly but not imperiously, and in grateful view of the full tremendousness of existence. (Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic)

A sharp, lucidly argued challenge to today's scientific worldview. (Jim Holt, The Wall Street Journal)

Nagel's arguments against reductionism should give those who are in search of a reductionist physical 'theory of everything' pause for thought... The book serves as a challenging invitation to ponder the limits of science and as a reminder of the astonishing puzzle of consciousness. (Science)

Mind and Cosmos, weighing in at 128 closely argued pages, is hardly a barn-burning polemic. But in his cool style Mr. Nagel extends his ideas about consciousness into a sweeping critique of the modern scientific worldview. (The New York Times)

[This] short, tightly argued, exacting new book is a work of considerable courage and importance. (National Review)

Provocative... Reflects the efforts of a fiercely independent mind. (H. Allen Orr, The New York Review of Books)

Challenging and intentionally disruptive... Unless one is a scientific Whig, one must strongly suspect that something someday will indeed succeed [contemporary science]. Nagel's Mind and Cosmos does not build a road to that destination, but it is much to have gestured toward a gap in the hills through which a road might someday run. (The Los Angeles Review of Books)

A model of carefulness, sobriety and reason... Reading Nagel feels like opening the door on to a tidy, sunny room that you didn't know existed. (The Guardian)

Fascinating... [A] call for revolution. (Alva Noe, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews)

The book's wider questions ― its awe-inspiring questions ― turn outward to address the uncanny cognizability of the universe around us... He's simply doing the old-fashioned Socratic work of gadfly, probing for gaps in what science thinks it knows. (Louis B. Jones, The Threepenny Review)

[Attacks] the hidden hypocrisies of many reductionists, secularists, and those who wish to have it both ways on religious modes of thinking ... Fully recognizes the absurdities (my word, not his) of dualism, and thinks them through carefully and honestly. (Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution)

This is an interesting and clearly written book by one of the most important philosophers alive today. It serves as an excellent introduction to debates about the power of scientific explanation. (Constantine Sandis, Times Higher Education)

... reading this book will certainly prove a worthwhile venture, as it is certain to have an inspiring effect on the reader's own attitude towards mind and the cosmos. (Jozef Bremer, Forum Philosophicum)

About the Author

Thomas Nagel is University Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 405 KB
  • Print Length: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (1 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008SQL6NS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #275,721 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Much academic philosophy seems like indulgent sophistry, the product of tenured members of university philosophy departments. However, the world is undoubtedly a very complex place, so there are no simple answers, no trite conclusions.
Thomas Nagel is a brilliant philosopher who attempts to address some of the fundamental problems that only philosophers can address. Here, he takes on the currently fashionable materialist scientism that has come to dominate the public imagination with the demise in the western world of popular theism. In this, he is attempting to reclaim for humanism some of the ground that in public discourse has been lost to materialism. The book succeeds resoundingly in this: it is eloquent, well argued and completely convincing.
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Peter Hichens recently concluded a review of A.C. Grayling's recent book The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanismwith an interesting question. He said that the interesting question about God was not so much whether he exists or not, but why both sides of the argument want their answer to be right. Are protagonists on both sides of the debate more worried about being right, or being wrong?

This book is interesting because it comes from an Atheist philosopher, who is challenging some of the most sacred and cherished beliefs of atheism. Specifically he challenges whether the reduction of all life and knowledge to smaller and smaller parts provides an adequate explanation of the world as it is, or as it is experienced in our consciousness. His conclusion is that it is not an adequate or complete explanation of how things are. He does not think this is just because of gaps in current knowledge that will eventually be filled. He thinks the idea of reducing everything to physics and chemistry is neither sensible nor justifiable, or even a rational hope.

Nagel is really pointing out a flaw in the paradigm of materialism. I think he achieves what he is trying to show, and in this he is echoing the work of many others who have challenged the attempt to reduce all life and experience to physics and chemistry.

In saying this Nagel is going against the current atheistic materialist consensus advocated strongly by many of the disciples of Dawkins. They will dislike this book and think it is wrong -as they deny the existence of anything that is not material as nonsense, no existence and utterly immaterial.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read Nagel's book with a growing sense of relief that finally an eminent philosopher has had the courage and self-belief to question the oppressive orthodoxy of academic biology,an orthodoxy sedulously fostered by a sycophantic press and swallowed by largely uncritical laypersons. This orthodoxy, call it 'naturalism' or 'materialism' or 'materialistic determinism' or whatever, has had its day as the only legitimate underpinning of scientific investigation, physics has seen to that; and Nagel gives a further sheaf of cogent reasons why this is so. These all turn on the universal human experience of consciousness and the simple point Nagel makes is this: if ordinary intuitions concerning conscious awareness, morality, intentionality and the like are at variance with the scientific ideology of materialism with its suggestion that 'in reality' we are simply mindless robots composed of insensate material particles, then what precisely makes it an obligation to bow to this consensus? There is absolutely no reason to believe that our ordinary intuitions concerning mind and its properties are in error; and if materialism cannot handle mind, too bad for materialism. The philosophy of materialism is, as philosophy, a dispiriting dead-end and anyone attempting to live by its conception of 'reality' (no-one does!) would be a psychopath. As a heuristic set of assumptions, on the other hand, it has been incredibly successful and enriching,for without it we would not have the technology to which we are all addicted. So what is the issue? The issue is one of confusion. It is the confused belief that the self-limiting heuristic assumptions of physical science constitute an exhaustive account of the nature of reality as such. They don't.Read more ›
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Nagel sets out, as he says "not so much to argue against reductionism as to investigate the consequences of rejecting it - to present the problem rather than to propose a solution".In doing this he bravely challenges many of the givens of modern thought, especially scientific thought. He identifies three areas - consciousness, cognition and value which he claims a purely physically derived understanding of the world cannot explain. He accepts science will go on to explain many things it has not yet explained, but his key point is that we should not assume that physical reductionism will ever provide all the answers, (in this he includes the current formulation of Darwinism). And in not being able to provide the answers he argues we must re-think our whole approach to understanding the world. This is a short book, densely argued, and sometimes a bit repetitive. I suspect it will become regarded as an important book. Like any really interesting argument, you may completely disagree with it, but it is still worth reading.
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