“A Critical Engagement with Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos (2012)”
The aim of this paper is to critically engage with Thomas Nagel’s book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False (2012). In this book Nagel shows in a very original way the limits of a materialist Neo- Darwinian worldview when it comes to explain the relation between us and the cosmos. The place we occupy in the world is so distinct, that although we are partly a product of its evolution, features such as consciousness, cognition and value, cannot be understood only in the mechanistic ways by which organic matter is explained. In this regard, Nagel not only intends to show that the person is irreducible to the cosmos materialistically conceived, but that the whole way we understand the world, as being driven ultimately by purely physical laws, should be revised. Basic principles other than mechanistic, which in its basic forms can be teleological, should not be arbitrary disregarded if an extended explanation of the person-and-cosmos relation is to be achieved. Therefore, I will engage first with the limits of materialism, and then with the possible alternatives that can complement the existing worldview. As a result, an expanded conception of the relation between persons and cosmos would be presented.