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 argues that there is no room for skepticism about basic logic or mathematics since thoughts like 2 + 2 Í 4 cannot be dislodged by any other propositions. Such examples of reason are immune to doubt and must be recognized by all as having universal validity. Nagel rejects as unintelligible Descartes’s idea that God, with his omnipotence and ultimate responsibility, could have made the truths of logic and mathematics other than they are. For Nagel, doubts about reasoning cannot avoid using some form of reasoning, and certain forms of reasoning cannot intelligibly be doubted because they form the irreducible framework of everything we can think about the world and ourselves.

Keywords: Descartes; logic; mathematics; reasoning; skepticism; universal validity

Chapter.  7492 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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