What Does It All Mean?

What Does It All Mean?

A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy

Book - 1987
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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 itsquestions 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. Althoughhe states his own opinions clearly, Nagel leaves these fundamental questions open, allowing students to entertain other solutions and encouraging them to think for themselves.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 1987
ISBN: 9780195052169
Branch Call Number: 100 NAG 1987
Characteristics: 101 pages


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 28, 2014

This book has several problems which the author should by now have corrected with a new edition. For example, in the first chapter he wrote that "the philosophical raw material comes directly from the world and our relation to it", but later, on the same page, he asserts that, "Unlike science, it [philosophy] doesn't rely on experiments or observation, but ONLY on thought." (Emphasis added.) Another problem is manifest in Nagel's palpable anxiety about "inequalities". He cares deeply about "social justice" but lacked the courtesy to remind his intended audience ("people who don't know the first thing about the subject [philosophy]") that justice is a social virtue by definition. So, the "social" in "social justice" is redundant. The reader would do well also to suspect that the buzz term really means "social[ist] justice", and this in spite of Nagel's lament about the poor results of central planning everywhere it has been imposed. Now, there are other problems, too, but Nagel does raise important issues about epistemology, consciousness, physicalism, theism, etc. in a way which should prompt deeper thinking about them.

atarascina Nov 18, 2012

A very good introductory book to philosophy. Great if you're just starting out on the subject, or just reading for fun.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at FSPL

To Top