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Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist…
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Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is… (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2012; vuoden 2012 painos)

– tekijä: Thomas Nagel (Tekijä)

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The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, 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 is fundamentally 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, either. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such. Nagel's skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative. In Mind and Cosmos, he does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic. In spite of the great achievements of the physical sciences, reductive materialism is a world view ripe for displacement. Nagel shows that to recognize its limits is the first step in looking for alternatives, or at least in being open to their possibility.--Publisher description.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:vhl219
Teoksen nimi:Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False
Kirjailijat:Thomas Nagel (Tekijä)
Info:Oxford University Press (2012), Edition: 1st, 144 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:to-read

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Mieli ja kosmos : Miksi materialistis-darwinistinen luontokäsitys on lähes varmasti epätosi (tekijä: Thomas Nagel) (2012)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
5/10

[I will type up my page by page notes as a review for this later. For now it is enough to say that I don't agree with Nagel on just about anything here, except that the task of explaining consciousness is extremely arduous.] ( )
  jakebornheimer | Mar 27, 2019 |
Scientific materialism posits that consciousness is an illusion. Creationisst suggest it is all made by God. For some of us neither of these takes work. Nagel has the formal philosophy to think it through and suggests there may well be a middle way to understand how life, consciousness, reason and value came to be. A middle way that does not dismiss what is manifestly evident (that we are conscious and subjectively self-aware) and does not invoke intelligent design. Nagel doesn't know what the middle way is but suggests a middle way, probably teleological, is a valid hypothesis to explore.

Que the ear smoke. ( )
1 ääni Mark-Bailey | Jul 1, 2017 |
Scientific materialism posits that consciousness is an illusion. Creationisst suggest it is all made by God. For some of us neither of these takes work. Nagel has the formal philosophy to think it through and suggests there may well be a middle way to understand how life, consciousness, reason and value came to be. A middle way that does not dismiss what is manifestly evident (that we are conscious and subjectively self-aware) and does not invoke intelligent design. Nagel doesn't know what the middle way is but suggests a middle way, probably teleological, is a valid hypothesis to explore.

Que the ear smoke. ( )
  torreyhouse | Jul 1, 2017 |
Thomas Nagel is a well-respected doctor of philosophy at New York University. In this book he puts forth many interesting and compelling arguments against the idea that Darwinian evolution is the complete explanation of life on earth.

At times in the book Nagel demolishes the idea that Darwinism is true, later he will seem to undoubtedly support the basic concepts of evolution and even support natural selection. After reading the book completely he seems to rationalize these two views by disregarding certain principles and conclusions of evolution but accepting the fossil record and the view that we have ‘evolved’ from previous life, all the way back to bacteria. He even believes in a limited natural selection for the process by which humans have come to be. He does reject the idea that simply by understanding current physics and chemistry we could evolve to our current diversity and intelligence of life, which he feels is a major component of Darwinism. He feels that natural selection is an incomplete and insufficient way to explain the consciousness, cognition, and values that humans have
Dr. Nagel makes clear many times he is a strict atheist so this book is not based on theological arguments. If Dr. Nagel were a theist then his personal views would likely line up very closely with intelligent design and he appreciates the viewpoint and feels it adds to the conversation surrounding life on earth.
Dr. Nagel feels that a major shortcoming of Darwinism is that it fails to explain consciousness; also that evolution and natural selection would fail to predict that conscious, cognizant beings would come about. He states that a theory that could have predicted the conscious, cognizant life on earth would be more appealing. Dr. Nagel argues that if we were to observe the primitive earth we could not have predicted that life would evolve because the physical and chemical probabilities of complex molecules necessary for life evolving is just too low; he views this as a major problem of Darwinism. For example in the introduction he states, “The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical model becomes…. But it seems to me… the current orthodoxy about the cosmic order is the product of governing assumptions that are unsupported, and that it flies in the face of common sense.”
He spends a large part of the book arguing against psychophysical reductionism (meaning that psychology and biology can be understood completely by physics and chemistry if you were to just have all the information about the chemistry/physics of the system). He feels that Darwinism is based on psychophysical reductionism and that is one reason why it does not explain the given data as well as could another theory which would fundamentally incorporate a bias towards conscious life.

Dr. Nagel does not give a full explanation for a competing hypothesis, but does express sympathy towards intelligent design, except for the inherent Creator. He feels a theory should show an internal bias towards organization and intelligent conscious life, which would explain that despite the physical and chemical probabilities life was very likely to develop on Earth.

Although this book is only 128 pages, it is not exactly a quick read. Dr. Nagel is a doctor of philosophy and he writes like one. This book is readable to a lay person, but will only be understandable if you take the time to learn such terms as realism, anti-realism, reductionism, anti-reductionism, monism, teleology, and so forth. I took two philosophy classes in undergrad that helped me understand many of the basic terms but still felt myself quite unprepared for the massive use of philosophical terms and arguments. He does use analogies that simplify the argument and overall the book is very well written and quite comprehendible, especially if you are willing to understand the basic philosophical terms he uses.

I read three reviews before I read the book; I prefer the reviews by The New Republic and National Review and found the one by The Nation to seem defensive and small minded, especially after reading the book.
( )
1 ääni JaredChristopherson | Nov 16, 2015 |
Materialistic neo-Darwinism is a view that there have been enough viable chance mutations to allow natural selection to account for the present diversity of life. Critiques of this position have constructed models using the rate of mutations and the age of life on earth to show that chance could not have been the cause.

Those critiques, although repeatedly made, have simply entered the culture war between atheists and theists, but they have not been adequately answered and so neo-Darwinism, from a purely rational perspective, has been falsified. This is what Nagel refers to in his subtitle when he claims that neo-Darwinism is "almost certainly false".

Nagel's main concern, however, is to explain, using ideas from the philosophy of mind, why one should expect the program of neo-Darwinism would be falsified. He approaches the problem reminiscent of his earlier work, Mortal Questions, where he introduces panpsychism which is a way to construct a monism of mind and matter upon which reductive science can continue.

The main reason to read this book is to follow his argument since it is central to current questions in the philosophy of mind and could be considered one way to salvage an atheistic approach to nature as its failure to make materialism work becomes ever more evident. ( )
1 ääni YesNoMaybe | Jul 12, 2014 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Here’s another problem. Nagel’s teleological biology is heavily human-centric or at least animal-centric. Organisms, it seems, are in the business of secreting sentience, reason, and values. Real biology looks little like this and, from the outset, must face the staggering facts of organismal diversity. There are millions of species of fungi and bacteria and nearly 300,000 species of flowering plants. None of these groups is sentient and each is spectacularly successful. Indeed mindless species outnumber we sentient ones by any sensible measure (biomass, number of individuals, or number of species; there are only about 5,500 species of mammals). More fundamentally, each of these species is every bit as much the end product of evolution as we are. The point is that, if nature has goals, it certainly seems to have many and consciousness would appear to be fairly far down on the list.

Similarly, Nagel’s teleological biology is run through with talk about the “higher forms of organization toward which nature tends” and progress toward “more complex systems.” Again, real biology looks little like this. The history of evolutionary lineages is replete with reversals, which often move from greater complexity to less. A lineage will evolve a complex feature (an eye, for example) that later gets dismantled, evolutionarily deconstructed after the species moves into a new environment (dark caves, say). Parasites often begin as “normal” complicated organisms and then lose evolutionarily many of their complex traits after taking up their new parasitic way of life. Such reversals are easily explained under Darwinism but less so under teleology. If nature is trying to get somewhere, why does it keep changing its mind about the destination?
 
Current science may suffer from fundamental flaws, but Nagel has not made a convincing case that this is so. And even if there are serious explanatory defects in our world picture, I don’t see how Nagel’s causally inexplicable teleology can be a plausible remedy. In saying this, I realize that Nagel is trying to point the way to a scientific revolution and that my reactions may be mired in presuppositions that Nagel is trying to transcend. If Nagel is right, our descendants will look back on him as a prophet—a prophet whom naysayers such as me were unable to recognize.
 
We conclude with a comment about truth in advertising. Nagel’s arguments against reductionism are quixotic, and his arguments against naturalism are unconvincing. He aspires to develop “rival alternative conceptions” to what he calls the materialist neo-Darwinian worldview, yet he never clearly articulates this rival conception, nor does he give us any reason to think that “the present right-thinking consensus will come to seem laughable in a generation or two.” Mind and Cosmos is certainly an apt title for Nagel’s philosophical meditations, but his subtitle—”Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False”—is highly misleading. Nagel, by his own admission, relies only on popular science writing and brings to bear idiosyncratic and often outdated views about a whole host of issues, from the objectivity of moral truth to the nature of explanation. No one could possibly think he has shown that a massively successful scientific research program like the one inspired by Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection “is almost certainly false.” The subtitle seems intended to market the book to evolution deniers, intelligent-design acolytes, religious fanatics and others who are not really interested in the substantive scientific and philosophical issues. Even a philosopher sympathetic to Nagel’s worries about the naturalistic worldview would not claim this volume comes close to living up to that subtitle. Its only effect will be to make the book an instrument of mischief.
 
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (3)

The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, 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 is fundamentally 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, either. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such. Nagel's skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative. In Mind and Cosmos, he does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic. In spite of the great achievements of the physical sciences, reductive materialism is a world view ripe for displacement. Nagel shows that to recognize its limits is the first step in looking for alternatives, or at least in being open to their possibility.--Publisher description.

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