Thomas Nagel Quotes

Enjoy the top 85 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Thomas Nagel.

Thomas Nagel Quotes

If sub specie aeternitatis there is no reason to believe that anything matters, then that does not matter either, and we can approach our absurd lives with irony instead of heroism or despair.
— Thomas Nagel —

It is often remarked that nothing we do now will matter in a million years. But if that is true, then by the same token, nothing that will be the case in a million years matters now. In particular, it does not matter now that in million years nothing we do now will matter.

— Thomas Nagel

The widespread willingness to rely on thermonuclear bombs as the ultimate weapon displays a cavalier attitude toward death that has always puzzled me. My impression is that ... most of the defenders of these weapons are not suitably horrified at the possibility of a war in which hundreds of millions of people would be killed ... I suspect that an important factor may be belief in an afterlife, and that the proporttion of those who think that death is not the end is much higher among the partisans of the bomb than among its opponents.

— Thomas Nagel

The place at which the contrast between forms of intelligibility is most vividly presented is in the understanding of ourselves.

— Thomas Nagel

Physical evolution, so reason cannot be explained as a mere extension or complication of consciousness. To explain our rationality will require something in addition to what is needed to explain our consciousness and its evidently adaptive forms, something at a different level. Reason can take us beyond the appearances because it has completely general validity, rather than merely local utility. If we have it, we recognize that it can be neither confirmed nor undermined by a theory of its evolutionary origins, nor by

— Thomas Nagel

The human will to believe is inexhaustible

— Thomas Nagel

Nature is such as to give rise to conscious beings with minds; and it is such as to be comprehensible to such beings. Ultimately therefore such beings should be comprehensible to themselves.

— Thomas Nagel

If sub specie aeternitatis there is no reason to believe that anything matters, then that does not matter either, and we can approach our absurd lives with irony instead of heroism or despair.

— Thomas Nagel

The external view [of agency] forces itself on us at the same time that we resist it. One way this occurs is through the gradual erosion of what we do by the subtraction of what happens.

— Thomas Nagel

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