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What Does it All Mean?

Should the hard questions of philosophy matter to ordinary people? In this down-to-earth, nonhistorical guide, Thomas Nagel, the distinguished author of Mortal Questions and The View From Nowhere, brings philosophical problems to life, revealing in vivid, accessible prose why they have
continued to fascinate and baffle thinkers across the centuries.
Arguing that the best way to learn about philosophy is to tackle its problems head-on, Nagel turns to some of the most important questions we can ask about ourselves. Do we really have free will? Why should we be moral? What is the relation between our minds and our brains? Is there life after
death? How should we feel about death? In a universe so vast, billions of light years across, can anything we do with our lives really matter? And does it matter if it doesn't matter? These are perennial questions we ask about the human condition, and Nagel probes them, and others like them,
thoughtfully, clearly, and with humor. He states his own opinions freely but with refreshing modesty, always leaving it open to readers to entertain other solutions, encouraging them to think for themselves.
Nagel is eminently qualified to introduce the uninitiated to the world of philosophical inquiry. Singled out by the Chicago Literary Review as "one of the sharpest analytic philosophers in America today," he has been praised in the New York Times Book Review for writing "sensitively and elegantly"
and in the Times Literary Supplement for his ability, rare among philosophers, to combine "profundity with clarity and simplicity of expression."
Never rarefied, What Does It All Mean? opens our eyesto a side of the world we rarely consider, demonstrating that philosophy is no empty study but an indispensable key to understanding our lives. It challenges us to think hard and clearly, to ask questions, to try out ideas and raise possible
objections to them--in short, to become philosophers ourselves.
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About the Author

Thomas Nagel is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University. His previous books are The View From Nowhere, Mortal Questions and The Possibility of Altruism.


'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 '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 '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 'Mr Nagel is well known among academic philosophers for bringng the clarity and rigor of analytic philosophy to such "large" philosophical questions.' Roger Kimball, '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 '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

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