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What Does It All Mean? : A Very Short…

What Does It All Mean? : A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (original 1987; edition 1987)

by Thomas Nagel

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Title:What Does It All Mean? : A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy
Authors:Thomas Nagel
Info:Oxford University Press, USA (1987), Edition: New Ed, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:philosophy, solipsism, free will,

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What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy by Thomas Nagel (1987)


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VERY basic intor to some philosophical questions. Easy read. ( )
  Laurochka | Feb 6, 2016 |
You want I should tell you what it all means, now that I finished the book? So, if I did, you could then say, "That's it? Why should I care?" Or "What does it mean that that's what it all means?" In other words, a meaning found in a book is just a meaning found in a book. That's not a fault of the book, though. Nagel gives this very argument.

I'll admit I went into this less naive than the intended audience. It was written for people who never asked these questions in the first place. I couldn't tell you whether one of those people would find this book a wake-up call to the examined life. The fact that they picked it up in the first place would mean they were already primed for it. This, by the way, is the core of what I call the Goodread's Paradox: the distortion in ratings caused by the fact that readers aren't reviewing at random but are evaluating just those books toward which they are already disposed to find interesting. Someone picking up Nagel and expecting a romantic comedy would give it only 1 star.

And, indeed, my only real complaint about the book is that Nagel doesn't sufficiently question what he is reading into to his observations. Yes, he treats the topics of solipsism and materialism but he doesn't ask whether those topics themselves reflect a bias that could, if not be escaped, at least be seen as an inescapable bias for him (though perhaps not for someone else with different inescapable biases) and whether the self is just that, a bias, which keeps one from a "view from nowhere" (a book of his I promise to return to.) ( )
  Gimley_Farb | Jul 6, 2015 |
Major philosophical questions in a nutshell, just in case you did not formulate them quite like that yourself. One could spend years thinking and discussing any and each of them, but here they are introduced in a very simple, natural and partly entertaining way, for us to do as we please and chew on them intermittently. ( )
  flydodofly | Apr 12, 2015 |
An excellent little book introducing nine major philosophical questions, including the mind-body problem, free will and death. Nagel focuses on clarifying the questions, without muddying the discourse. Periodically he gives his own opinion to the question at hand, but not without urging the reader to come to their own conclusions. He doesn't waste any space bringing in historical references, or citing other philosophers. This book is all about bringing the questions themselves to light. I found the book to be clear and concise, and I'm sure I'll reread it soon, just to solidify the concepts within my own mind. "What Does It All Mean?" is my first exposure to Nagel, and I look forward to reading some of his more esoteric works. ( )
  hayduke | Apr 3, 2013 |
Straightforward philosophical review of several fundamental questions: How do we know anything, where does consciousness reside, what is the meaning of words, is there free will, what is right and wrong, is there justice, how should we think about death, and...what is the meaning of life (sigh...answer is NOT 42 - can you imagine that?) Love that it closes with a seeming injunction against taking ourselves too seriously, for then we tag life as both potentially meaningless AND absurd. Wish I'd had this prof at NYU! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Nagel ( )
1 vote Anraku | Feb 5, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0195052161, Paperback)

In this cogent and accessible introduction to philosophy, the distinguished author of Mortal Questions and The View From Nowhere sets forth the central problems of philosophical inquiry for the beginning student. Arguing that the best way to learn about philosophy is to think about its questions directly, Thomas Nagel considers possible solutions to nine problems--knowledge of the world beyond our minds, knowledge of other minds, the mind-body problem, free will, the basis of morality, right and wrong, the nature of death, the meaning of life, and the meaning of words. Although he states his own opinions clearly, Nagel leaves these fundamental questions open, allowing students to entertain other solutions and encouraging them to think for themselves.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:45 -0400)

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