What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy

What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy

Thomas Nagel / May 25, 2019

What Does It All Mean A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy 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 brin

  • Title: What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy
  • Author: Thomas Nagel
  • ISBN: 9780195052923
  • Page: 313
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 wShould 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 eyes to 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 "Thomas Nagel"

      • Thomas Nagel

        Thomas Nagel is an American philosopher, currently University Professor and Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University, where he has taught since 1980 His main areas of philosophical interest are philosophy of mind, political philosophy and ethics He is well known for his critique of reductionist accounts of the mind in his essay What Is it Like to Be a Bat 1974 , and for his contributions to deontological and liberal moral and political theory in The Possibility of Altruism 1970 and subsequent writings.Thomas Nagel was born to a Jewish family in Belgrade, Yugoslavia now Serbia He received a BA from Cornell University in 1958, a BPhil from Oxford University in 1960, and a PhD from Harvard University in 1963 under the supervision of John Rawls Before settling in New York, Nagel taught briefly at the University of California, Berkeley from 1963 to 1966 and at Princeton University from 1966 to 1980 , where he trained many well known philosophers including Susan Wolf, Shelly Kagan, and Samuel Scheffler, who is now his colleague at NYU In 2006, he was made a member of the American Philosophical Society.Nagel is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities In 2008, he was awarded a Rolf Schock Prize for his work in philosophy, the Balzan prize, and the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from Oxford University.


    1. The Basic Questions of PhilosophyNagel presents this book as a direct introduction to a selection of nine philosophical problems which the reflective human mind finds naturally puzzling, each of which can be understood in itself, without reference to the history of thought — so Nagel opts to omit discussion on the great philosophical writings of the past or the cultural background of those writings and approach them as questions that should be tackled on their own rights. For the best way to b [...]

    2. دو جور می شه وارد فلسفه شد یکی از روزنه ی مشکلات رایج در جامعه - مثلا حقوق زنان، سقط جنین، دموکراسی، بازار آزاد و - و گام به گام عقب رفتن تا رسیدن به محل دعوا و دوم پرداختن به سوالاتی که همیشه ذهن فیلسوفان اهل فن رو به خودش مشغول کرده بدون ارتباط دادن آن به مشکلات زندگی انضمامی ما [...]

    3. I read this book because I was having some difficulty with Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False and because it, unlike Mind and Cosmos, was available in the library and was the hard copy, not the e-reader. What Does It All Mean is short, as promised and, as the author says, probably capable of being read by an intelligent person of high school age. It consists of ten chapters; the first is the introduction, so that leaves nine, one eac [...]

    4. What does it all mean? : a very short introduction to philosophy, Thomas Nagelعنوان: اینها همه یعنی چه؟؛ نویسنده: توماس (تامس) نیگل (ناگل)؛ مترجم: جواد حیدری؛ تهران، نگاه معاصر؛ 1392؛ در 90 ص؛ شابک: 9786005747720؛ عنوان دیگر: در پی معنا؛ موضوع: مقدمات فلسفه؛ قرن 20 معنوان: در پی معنا؛ نویسنده: توماس (تامس) نیگل (ناگل)؛ مترجم: م [...]

    5. نیگل فیلسوفی تحلیلی بسیار مشهور این کتاب را در حدی ساده و روان نوشته که برای دبیرستانی ها هم قابل فهم است. البته با توجه به فهرست کتاب میبینید که مسایلی عمیق را مطرح کرده که عمرشان به درازای تاریخ خرد آدمیست. بنده ترجمه دکتر جواد حیدری و متن اصلی کتاب را خواندم و بسی کیفور گشتم

    6. In this short book, Thomas Nagel asks a lot of questions. How do we know that anything exists outside of ourselves? If we think that there is a world outside of ourselves, how do we know there are other minds like ours? How do we know if other people's experiences are like our experiences? How are minds possible if we are composed of mindless particles? Is the mind separate from the body? Is there a soul? How do words have meaning? Do we have free will? How do we know right from wrong? Is there [...]

    7. این کتاب تو نمایشگاه کتاب امسال به چشمم اومد و چون ارزون بود و به نظر خوب میومد خریدمش.برای یه مرور کوچیک و سریع روی مفاهیم فلسفی - سوالات اصلی فلسفی که تو ذهن اکثر افراد هست- کتاب خوبیه. البته نویسنده با این که گفته نمی خوام جواب بدم خیلی جاها نظر شخصی خودش رو مطرح کرده و یا تاکی [...]

    8. در پی معنا همونطور که خودش میگه بیشتر میخواد یک سری سوالها رو مطرح کنه که آدم موقع خوندن آثار فلاسفه فقط یک سری جواب نبینه و بدونی حرفهارو برای چی میزنند. البته درین کار موفقه و یک سری سوال مطرح میکنه ولی کلا خیلی چیز قابل توجهی نیست و حتی سوال قابل توجهی هم مطرح نمیشه و بخوام در [...]

    9. 60 pages or 600 pages, if a book can tell me a story I never heard, introduce me interesting characters, tell me things I never heard of and what not influence the way I look at things and life at large, I would consider it a fair read. One such short but influential book is this Short Introduction to philosophy. Like Author says book will reflect his own view of few philosophical problems and will not necessarily represent what most philosophers think. There probably isn't anything that most ph [...]

    10. 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 [...]

    11. 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 [...]

    12. Short, succinct, and too basic for my ancient years. This would be a great book with which to begin the study of philosophy and might be of value to an intelligent curious teenager - one who values the questions more than the answers.

    13. کتاب را با ترجمه دکتر جواد حیدری خواندم و قسمت زیادی از کتاب را مقابله با متن اصلی کردم.بسیار ترجمه عالیست.فکر کنم عظمت نیگل در جهان بر هیچکس پوشیده نباشد.در ایران هم به همت دکتر حیدری و توصیه مصطفی ملکیان کتب نیگل یکی پس از دیگری به دست ترجمه سپرده شده

    14. Secara peribadinya, buku ini sesuai untuk pemula. Nagel membawakan beberapa topik tertentu yang menjadi perbahasan falsafah tanpa mengapungkan nama-nama tokoh atau sekolah pemikiran dengan begitu spesifik.Keduanya buku ini agak baik dalam erti kata ia tidak menetapkan sudut pandangnya tetapi Nagel cuma memperkenalkan topik-topik itu seadanya dan mengaitkan satu topik dengan topik seterusnya.Nagel memulakan buku ini dengan perbahasan epistemologi - bagaimana kita (boleh) tahu sesuatu? Daripada si [...]

    15. This intro to philosophical discussion takes on several basic philosophical questions. Nagel walks the reader through several common avenues of philosophical analysis until leaving the reader with several questions to answer for themselves. In this review, I will take on some of Nagel’s questions.Solipsism posits that the only thing that exists is our minds. But we don’t know that. We know that it is all we can experience, but not all that is. Skepticism doubts that any external world exists [...]

    16. This is only appropriate to high school students. I have no problem with the writing, he actually did a very good job at presenting and explaining the subjects he chose. The problem is that when there are no references or terminology, there is no spark for something more. I can't imagine how an adult can get more than a couple of ideas from this.

    17. 1) Solipsism is a philosophical position that says our mind is the only thing that exists.2) Skepticism is a philosophical position that says we can't know on the basis of what's in our mind that there's no world outside it. 3) A dream has to be something from which you can wake up to discover that you have been asleep; a hallucination has to be something which others (or you later) can see is not really there. Impressions and appearances that do not correspond to reality must be contrasted with [...]

    18. Reminded by a friend of Thomas Nagel's work (in reference to his more recent Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, in which he takes on his hard-core materialist colleagues), I thought I'd revisit this, his "very short introduction to philosophy". The book, only about 100 pages, presents brief, cogent, readable explorations of nine of the basic questions with which philosophers wrestle, including justice, the meaning of life, death, ri [...]

    19. First of all, this book is a great introduction into the ideas behind philosophy but not particularly into the study of philosophy. While a range of topics are included within the writings, it is sorely limited in specialist terminology and on any history of philosophy -- which is my favourite part. Besides this, while it did urge me to think about the philosophical ideas included, it appeared somewhat limited in this as the book progressed and became more structured and opinionated. While the p [...]

    20. I used this book to introduce students to philosophy. It is exactly what it says it is: a very short introduction. It does a great job framing the intuition and basics of a number of the more pervasive and persistent problems in philosophy without getting bogged down in names or overly heavy terms. Nagel also does a good job of giving a fair assessment of a number of views that are not his own (with the exception of solipsism - but who cares about that). My students enjoyed it and it did an exce [...]

    21. This book is meant to be an introduction to philosophy for non-specialists. Generally this type books are fully loaded with history of philosophical thoughts and reflecting on how philosophy evolved over time. I like Nagel's different approach here. He refers to no philosopher and history of philosophical thought, but addresses 10 basic questions of philosophy, which can be discussed in themselves. These include how we know anything, free will, death, justice, mind-body etc. All in all a very re [...]

    22. در پی معنا از این جهت کتاب مفیدیه که به سوالات اساسی زندگی که گاهی مبهمند یک چارچوب کلی میده و بنابراین آدم رو به فکر کردن و اندیشیدن درباره‌ی این سوالات وامی‌داره. کتاب خیلی ساده و روونیه. خوندنش خالی از لطف و فایده نیست.

    23. A most enjoyable brief read that opens up much thought within yourself and with others.Written in a way that is comprehensible to most, if not all, people, many of the big questions are tantalisingly explored and new vistas potentially opened.Highly recommended.09.10

    24. A brilliant introduction to philosophy. Nagel is a star in asking the right questions and let's the reader think about the big philosophical problems and issues. He challenges the reader to think about these issues and the world around them. Great and easy to read.

    25. An excellent, short introduction to philosophy by way of major philosophical questions. What *does* "it all" mean?

    26. ספר שמציג בקצרה 10 שאלות פילוסופיות מרכזיות, שאלה בכל פרק, ודן בהן. חלק מהפרקים מעניינים מאוד, והשאר היו טרחנים וקשים לקריאה עבורי. הקריאה היתה די מאכזבת יחסית לציפיות שלי.

    27. I found this introduction to philosophy mediocre until Chapter 8, Justice, when it transitioned to very poor. Without any backing whatsoever the author claims that "undeserved inequalities" mainly arise from "differences in class background" and "natural talent" / "bad luck". This implication that inequalities can only result from uncontrollable facets of a person (class at birth and talent inclinations from genetics) and have zero to do with personal choices in life is completely objectionable [...]

    28. An interesting, thought-provoking read, and I guess serves as an accessible introductory book for those who don’t know the first thing about the subject. First of all, I love the concept of it - the author Thomas Nagel directly addresses the most intriguing philosophical questions rather than boasting knowledge of confusing, daunting -isms. The writing is, for the most part, clear and concise, although the layman’s style which Nagel evidently strives for somehow leaves me dizzy when he ventu [...]

    29. It would be easy to feel a little put off or maybe insulted by the first sentence of this book: "This book is a brief introduction to philosophy for people who don't know the first thing about the subject." Well, I do know the FIRST thing about philosophy (but maybe not the second or third), enough to be familiar with Nagel's famous essay "What is It Like to Be a Bat?" , which made me believe his assurances that you need not be a student of philosophy to understand the book but also to believe t [...]

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