The Last Word

The Last Word If there is such a thing as reason it has to be universal Reason must reflect objective principles whose validity is independent of our point of view principles that anyone with enough intelligence o

  • Title: The Last Word
  • Author: Thomas Nagel
  • ISBN: 9780195149838
  • Page: 373
  • Format: Paperback
  • If there is such a thing as reason, it has to be universal Reason must reflect objective principles whose validity is independent of our point of view principles that anyone with enough intelligence ought to be able to recognize as correct But this universality of reason is what relativists and subjectivists deny in ever increasing numbers And such subjectivism is notIf there is such a thing as reason, it has to be universal Reason must reflect objective principles whose validity is independent of our point of view principles that anyone with enough intelligence ought to be able to recognize as correct But this universality of reason is what relativists and subjectivists deny in ever increasing numbers And such subjectivism is not just an inconsequential intellectual flourish or badge of theoretical chic It is exploited to deflect argument and to belittle the pretensions of the arguments of others The continuing spread of this relativistic way of thinking threatens to make public discourse increasingly difficult and unproductive In The Last Word, Thomas Nagel, one of the most influential philosophers writing in English, presents a sustained defense of reason against the attacks of subjectivism, delivering systematic rebuttals of relativistic claims with respect to language, logic, science, and ethics He shows that the last word in disputes about the objective validity of any form of thought must lie in some unqualified thoughts about how things are thoughts that we cannot regard from outside as mere psychological dispositions His work sets a new standard in the debate on this crucially important question and should generate intense interest both within and outside the philosophical community.

    One thought on “The Last Word”

    1. This is a short but brain-hurting little book on reason, and the fallacies of non-rational / subjective attempts at building epistemologies and ethical systems. I won’t bore anyone with the details, and this isn’t a spoiler because he throws out his view right at the start of the book, but Nagel’s basic idea is that any attempt to overthrow rationality, say for example for a cultural relativism for how come to think the way we think, is doomed because to engage in the exercise we are still [...]

    2. The good thing about Thomas Nagel is that he puts himself out there. Frankly, I think his "defense of reason" walks and talks like Blackburn--all the better for Blackburn, I say! Still an engaging read. Pair it with Blackburn's Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reasoning and decide for yourself.

    3. Overall, this was a rather well done refutation of most vulgar relativistic conceptions of knowledge and justification. His arguments in favor of ethical realism seem to be rather well constructed, even if I completely disagree. In short, this is definitely worth reading if you want a refutation of the more naive forms of relativism floating around the intellectual zeitgeist.

    4. It was shocking how relevant this book turned out to be, at least for my own interests. Sorry this is going to be a useless review, because I'm utterly blinded by the profundity this has for my own work.[First Reading: April 12-13 2015]

    5. This was a fun read. It was amusing to watch Nagel contradicting himself, question-begging and making a fool of himself in general in order to advocate for his unreasonable and outdated belief that reason and logic are the sole foudations for a valid discourse.

    6. Nagel defends the rationalist concept of reason and leads a polemic against subjectivist conventions, exposing them as inherent fallacies

    7. Clunky, but goodNegel is not the best writer and is often boring but the first and last chapters are worth the price of admission.

    8. A good headache! Am writing a paper on the Ethics chapter now; comparing some of his writing with Wittgenstein. I can´t believe how much their views have in common

    9. My weekend read was "Last Word," a book by philosopher Thomas Nagel. Considering how prevalent postmodern subjectivist, relativistic, pragmatist and/or naturalistic beliefs are these days, I highly recommend to pick this book and read Nagel's arguments carefully. Together with Derek Parfit, Peter Singer and a number of other authors, Nagel masterfully attacks these views. Maybe not a knockdown argument, considering we always view the world from within our own perspective, but it helps, if you wa [...]

    10. Un saggio davvero difficile per me che non amo la filosofia, e non c'entra nulla che l'ho letto in spagnolo. No, è proprio un rapporto di amore ed odio quello che ho con questi temi: o mi piacciono molto o li trovo banali e uan perdita di tempo. Questo per me è stata una perdita di tempo. Secondo il mio modesto parere Nagel è una persona egocentrica, uno che anche se vuol fare finta di dare il beneficio del dubbio, in cuor suo lui non ammetterà mai che può sbagliare. Perchè dire che ogni f [...]

    11. 1 of Sam's top 3 philosophy books for everyone to read.I’m a big fan of Thomas Nagel’s earlier work… He is a very fine writer — a very clear writer — and just as a style of communication he’s worth going to school on." Sam Harris Champions rationality)

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