An Analysis Of A View From Nowhere By Thomas Nagel

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Topics: Morality
The View from Nowhere
Thomas Nagel
Final Exam – PHI 101

1. Introduction
For the entirety of history philosophy has struggled with the balance of exploring human experience or simply detaching from it to analyze reality from a separate standpoint. In his book The View from Nowhere, Thomas Nagel explores these two points of view in philosophy, collectively known as objective and subjective points of view. Nagel introduces the conflict of attempting to look at the world objectively despite an inevitable subjective lens that is present in every individual regardless the effort to abolish it. In the opening words of his argument he explains that the conflict lies in learning “how to combine the perspective of a particular person inside the world with an objective view of that same world, the person and his viewpoint included” (Nagel 3). This problem arises because trying to meet a “unified conception of life” (Nagel 3) can lead to extreme detachment from reality or, on the other hand, complete disregard to worldwide views on morality, autonomy, suffering, life and death. Modern philosopher Julian Marias has a theory that explains that philosophy must be rooted in the individual’s reality, in his book about Marias’s philosophy Raley explains “that if phenomenology is honest with itself, it must acknowledge that the reality of life precedes one’s thought about it, and this means that the terms of philosophy must be inverted. In other words, I live and therefore think, act, love, suffer, enjoy, etc., and all realities occur to me as I live” (Raley 27). This reversal heavily emphasizes the importance of subjective thought in the process of making philosophical claims. However, the counterpart is that which Nagel introduces on page 5 “I shall offer a defense and also a critique of objectivity. Both are necessary in the present intellectual climate, for objectivity is both underrated and overrated … It is underrated by those who don’t regard it as a method of

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