Philosophical Note on Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos
by J.P. Moreland
- Title: A Reluctant Traveler's Guide for Slouching Towards Theism: A Philosophical Note on Nagel's Mind and Cosmos
- Date: 12/15/2012
- Source: Philosophia Christi 14:2 (Winter 2012): 429-438.
- Article Type: Journal Article
- Audience: Advanced, Intermediate
- Kingdom Categories: Life of the Mind
This philosophical note responds to Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos argument, according to which, there are four things that physicalist Darwinism fails to explain, and while theism and his own panpsychist immanent teleological view do explain them, his view is superior to theism:
- The emergence from a lifeless universe of the staggeringly complex life on earth in such a short time.
- The development of such an incredible diversity of highly complex life forms from first life in such a short time.
- The appearance of conscious beings from brute matter.
- The existence of objective reason and value and the existence of creatures with the sort of faculties apt for grasping objective reality and value and being motivated by value.
Mind and Cosmos is a very good book that, in my view, succeeds in its attack on materialist Darwinian naturalism. Nagel’s argument might be viewed as a fitting supplement to other books like Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s What Darwin Got Wrong (2011) and Bradley Monton’s Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design (2009).
While not wishing to break with the Darwinian pack, a small but growing number of mainstream thinkers are exhibiting the courage to criticize the inadequacies of Darwinian materialism. And to my knowledge, Nagel’s book is the only one that attempts to provide a nontheistic alternative to Darwinian materialism. But it does not consider theistic responses to the points made and, as a result, is not what it could have been had theism been given its due.
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- It offers a substantial review of a leading critique against the Darwinian materialist paradigm.
- It forwards the discussion in philosophy of mind, anthropology, cosmology and philosophy of religion.
- It underscores the ongoing problem with non-dualist accounts of consciousness and mind.