Thomas Nagel

in The Last Word

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780195149838
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199872206 | DOI:

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Nagel outlines his project to defend rationalism against subjectivism. In his view, no matter how sophisticated they may be, all forms of subjectivism and relativism either are clearly false or collapse into self‐contradiction or vacuity. Where justification and understanding come to an end, there is, he argues, a category of thought with universal authority that we cannot get outside. It is reason. The question is, How is access to this universally valid method of objective thought possible for a biological species like ours? Addressing this question in relation to different fields of inquiry is Nagel's primary concern in subsequent chapters.

Keywords: justification; rationalism; reason; relativism; subjectivism; understanding; universal authority

Chapter.  2841 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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