Professional philosophy news

Ending Science as We Know It

Elliot Sober (Wisconsin) reviews Thomas Nagel‘s (NYU) Mind and Cosmos.

Mind and Cosmos is dominated by a set of very strong assumptions about explanation: remarkable facts must have explanations; those explanations must show that the remarkable facts have fairly high probabilities; and remarkable facts cannot be byproducts. Nagel does not take seriously the possibility that the world may not be so obliging.

• • •

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.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s