Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New collection of essays by Thomas Nagel

Secular Philosophy and the Religious Temperament

by Thomas Nagel

(Oxford University Press, 2010)

184 pages


This volume collects recent essays and reviews by Thomas Nagel in three subject areas. The first section, including the title essay, is concerned with religious belief and some of the philosophical questions connected with it, such as the relation between religion and evolutionary theory, the question of why there is something rather than nothing, and the significance for human life of our place in the cosmos. It includes a defense of the relevance of religion to science education. The second section concerns the interpretation of liberal political theory, especially in an international context. A substantial essay argues that the principles of distributive justice that apply within individual nation-states do not apply to the world as a whole. The third section discusses the distinctive contributions of four philosophers to our understanding of what it is to be human - the form of human consciousness and the source of human values.


Part I. Religion
1: Secular Philosophy and the Religious Temperament [paper]
2: Dawkins and Atheism
3: Why Is There Anything?
4: Nietzsche's Self-Creation
5: Public Education and Intelligent Design

Part II. Politics
6: The Problem of Global Justice
7: The Limits of International Law
8: Appiah's Rooted Cosmopolitanism
9: Sandel and the Paradox of Liberalism
10: MacKinnon on Sexual Domination

Part III. Humanity
11: Williams: The Value of Truth
12: Williams: Humanity and Philosophy
13: Wiggins on Human Solidarity
14: O'Shaughnessy on the Stream of Consciousness
15: Sartre: The Look and the Problem of Other Minds

The first essay has not been published before.

Thomas Nagel is University Professor, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor of Law at New York University. Among his books are The View from Nowhere (Oxford University Press, 1986), and Equality and Partiality (Oxford University Press, 1991).

Last month in Times Literary Supplement, Thomas Nagel recommended a book by the "intelligent design" apologist Stephen Meyer. See some reactions here, here and here. And Nagel's reply here.

Read David Gordon's review of Nagel's new book here at "The Mises Review".

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