Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False

Hardcover | September 6, 2012

byThomas Nagel

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In Mind and Cosmos Thomas Nagel argues that the widely accepted world view of materialist naturalism is untenable. The mind-body problem cannot be confined to the relation between animal minds and animal bodies. If materialism cannot accommodate consciousness and other mind-related aspects ofreality, then we must abandon a purely materialist understanding of nature in general, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology isfundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such. No such explanation is available, and the physical sciences, including molecular biology, cannot be expected to provide one. The book explores these problems through a general treatment of the obstacles to reductionism, with more specific application to the phenomena of consciousness, cognition,and value. The conclusion is that physics cannot be the theory of everything.

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From the Publisher

In Mind and Cosmos Thomas Nagel argues that the widely accepted world view of materialist naturalism is untenable. The mind-body problem cannot be confined to the relation between animal minds and animal bodies. If materialism cannot accommodate consciousness and other mind-related aspects ofreality, then we must abandon a purely mate...

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

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:144 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:September 6, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199919755

ISBN - 13:9780199919758

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Customer Reviews of Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mr Excellent book with fresh ideas. But I noticed that the writer made a huge effort to avoid any intentional miraculous possibilities for the existence of consciousness, cognition and value. Though I think that is an option shouldn't be off the table for the reason that it may "drag" one into religiosity. What is wrong in speculating that intentional power is behind all this. In fact we are at a cross Road and we wounder whether to turn science into a dogma or to accept that materialistic reductionism left too many loose ends and continuously failed to account for too much empirical "paranormal" facts and events. I think we human are much more than just to be reduced to chemical and physical entities. An attitude of humility is needed when approaching difficult questions like why we are here, why there are values, etc. You cannot just turn the "why" to a mechanical "how" and start collecting data and draw conclusions. "Why" always, I guess, will remain legitimate.
Date published: 2014-05-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mr Excellent book with fresh ideas. But I noticed that the writer made a huge effort to avoid any intentional miraculous possibilities for the existence of consciousness, cognition and value. Though I think that is an option shouldn't be off the table for the reason that it may "drag" one into religiosity. What is wrong in speculating that intentional power is behind all this. In fact we are at a cross Road and we wounder whether to turn science into a dogma or to accept that materialistic reductionism left too many loose ends and continuously failed to account for too much empirical "paranormal" facts and events. I think we human are much more than just to be reduced to chemical and physical entities. An attitude of humility is needed when approaching difficult questions like why we are here, why there are values, etc. You cannot just turn the "why" to a mechanical "how" and start collecting data and draw conclusions. "Why" always, I guess, will remain legitimate.
Date published: 2014-05-30

Extra Content

Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Antireductionism and the Natural Order3. Consciousness4. Cognition5. Value6. Conclusion