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What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy Paperback – 18 May 1989
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'If someone confronts you with the problem "Get me an introduction to philosophy and I have only one evening free to read it", I can recommend Thomas Nagel's introduction. If for the umpteemth time you are asked "What is philosophy all about", tell him or her to read this book... how would you go about explaining the complex relation between a determinisic world-view and the free will problem? Thomas Nagel shows how it can be done and quite impressively so.'Philosophica
'His style is clear and free of technical terms, and the book should appeal to those who know little or nothing of the discipline.' Library Journal
'Mr Nagel is well known among academic philosophers for bringng the clarity and rigor of analytic philosophy to such "large" philosophical questions.' Roger Kimball,
'The author is blessed with an ability rare in his discipline to combine rigour with good humour, and variety of approach with simplicity of expression. The most welcome thing about the book is that it presents the core questions of philosophy to the beginner without the deterrent baggage of names and -isms.' Anne McElvoy, The Times
'I don't know how many will find their way into philosophy via Nagel's Very Short Introduction, but it will be enough fully to justify the efforts of everyone involved.' Times Literary Supplement
'His style is deceptively simple, concealing the profundity of the thought, and is luminously clear. His chatty, easy way of writing goes with a rigorous logic of argument ... Nagel has given us an admirable challenge to what the Greeks called 'the unexamined life'.' Cogito --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Thomas Nagel is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University.
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Top Customer Reviews
Nagel tackles nine major philosophical issues using a succint, accurate and accessible style. His discussions inevitably dovetail towards his understanding of the problem under consideration (which prompts his solution) but this is due to the very essence of philosophical discourse - to define and outline the problem accurately is often more contentious than analysing or 'solving' it! Nagel lays open these major philosophical problems with great skill. A newcomer to philosophy may well find the question 'What can we know?' ridiculous but after reading Nagel's chapter (which, as he says, is suitable for the intelligent high school pupil upwards) on the subject he should begin to appreciate the grave difficulties posed by such a query.
The best thing about this book is that, unlike many other introductions to the subject, it is a book written by one of the most respected philosopher's of our time and its text consists of philosophising in its own right - it does not just give a potted history of Western philosophy as the majority do, yet it remains easily accessible and comprehendible. (Both types of text are useful but I have come across few books with this focus.)
This book is ideal for anyone, from A level student upwards, who wants to know a bit more about philosophy and is an excellent preparation and companion for anyone about to begin studying the subject. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
This book is well suited to its target audience: people with little experience of philosophy who would like to explore some very interesting ideas - and to see if philosophy is suited to them.
If you have already studied philosophy you will almost certainly find this a little too basic. If so, pick another of Nagel's books (he is a truly great and interesting thinker).
This book doesn't try to tackle all of the fundamentals of philsophy but merely takes a look at a few issues, studies them and gives a little insight into the kind of logic abnd reasoning behind philosophical argument.
If your thinking about "getting into" philosophy - at whatever level - this book is certainly worth a look.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very special and not leading to obligatory conclusions; i.e. like which religion brought enduring peace on earth after all ?Published 2 days ago by J. L. Emanuel
I was disappointed with this; it was so vapid and general that I couldn't really see any point in it!Published 7 months ago by STEWART BARTLAM
I have bought this for a present, so I cannot comment on the quality of the literature/philosophy and when I get a follow-up comment from my recipient, I may later amend my star... Read morePublished 8 months ago by P.
I recommend this book to anyone showing any philosophical tendencies. It was on the list of 'books to read before you start the course' in my philosophy degree, and rightly... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Howard Y