Thomas Nagel

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Thomas Nagel born July 4, 1937) is an American philosopher. He is presently University Professor of Philosophy and Law Emeritus at New York University in the NYU Department of Philosophy, where he has taught since 1980. His main areas of philosophical interest are in the areas of philosophy of mind, political philosophy and ethics. He is an atheist.[1]

A short biography at New York University states concerning Thomas Nagel:

Thomas Nagel was trained in philosophy, first at Cornell (B.A. 1958), then at Oxford, where he went on a Fulbright Scholarship (B. Phil. 1960), and then at Harvard (Ph.D. 1963). He has always worked in a wide range of areas of philosophy, but ethics and political and legal theory have been prominent among his concerns from the beginning. He has also written extensively about metaphysics, the theory of knowledge, the philosophy of mind, and the meaning of life. Nagel is interested in the direct application of moral theory to contemporary issues such as abortion, affirmative action, freedom of expression, and the laws of war, and he was one of the founding editors of the journal Philosophy & Public Affairs, which had a significant effect in bringing those concerns into the philosophical main stream.

Every fall term, Professor Nagel teaches jointly with Ronald Dworkin the Colloquium in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory, which brings leading figures in those fields to NYU School of Law for discussion of their work in progress.

Nagel is the author of a number of books. Most of his interests are treated in The View From Nowhere, which explores the subjective/objective opposition in a number of areas of philosophy, from the mind-body problem and the theory of knowledge to free will, ethics, the meaning of life, and the significance of death. Equality and Partiality extends the analysis to issues of political theory, social justice, and individual rights. Nagel is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Philosophical Society, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He has held fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has delivered the John Locke Lectures at Oxford, the Alfred North Whitehead Lectures at Harvard, and the Storrs Lectures at Yale. He holds honorary doctorates from Oxford University, Harvard University, and the University of Bucharest, and is the recipient of a Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award in the Humanities, the Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the Balzan Prize in Moral Philosophy.[2]


Thomas Nagel has received the Balzan Prize in Moral Philosophy (2008), the Rolf Schock Prizes|Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2008) and the Distinguished Achievement Award of the Mellon Foundation (2006).

Nagel also awarded the 1996 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for Other Minds (1995).

Quote of Thomas Nagel

See also: Causes of atheism and Atheism and evidence and Atheism quotes

The Christian apologist Tom Gilson, after citing cases where atheists hold to views without sufficient evidence, quotes Thomas Nagel who declared:

I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.[1]

Books by Thomas Nagel

  • Nagel, Thomas (1970). The possibility of altruism. Princeton, N.J: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780691020020. (Reprinted in 1978, Princeton University Press.)
  • Nagel, Thomas; Held, Virginia; Morgenbesser, Sidney (1974). Philosophy, morality, and international affairs: essays edited for the Society for Philosophy and Public Affairs. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195017595.
  • Nagel, Thomas (1979). Mortal questions. London: Canto. ISBN 9780521406765.
  • Nagel, Thomas (1986). The view from nowhere. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195056440.
  • Nagel, Thomas (1987). What does it all mean?: a very short introduction to philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195174373.
  • Nagel, Thomas (1991). Equality and partiality. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195098396.
  • Nagel, Thomas (1997). The last word. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195149838.[18]
  • Nagel, Thomas (1999). Other minds: critical essays, 1969–1994. New York Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195132465.
  • Nagel, Thomas; Murphy, Liam (2002). The myth of ownership : taxes and justice. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195176568.
  • Nagel, Thomas (2002). Concealment and exposure: and other essays. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195152937.
  • Nagel, Thomas (2010). Secular philosophy and the religious temperament: essays 2002–2008. Oxford New York, N.Y: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195394115.
  • Nagel, Thomas (2012). Mind and Cosmos: why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780199919758

External links