“Can we have a comprehensive view of nature if we do not include an adequate account of consciousness, cognition, and value?” asks William Carroll, in his review of Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False by philosopher Thomas Nagel. The atheist philosopher takes on what might be called the Standard Model of materialism, especially as applied to the mind and consciousness. William Carroll reviews Nagel’s refutation of reductionist materialism. Philosopher Edward Feser likewise looks at Nagel’s case here and takes up the theme of Nagel and his critics here. Both reviewers are positive to the book in many respects, even though they also have some potent criticisms. What Nagel gets right and a good deal of what he gets wrong, if I am reading the reviewers correctly, would, respectively, be enhanced and corrected by a careful appropriation of Aristotle and the scholastic tradition, especially as it concerns purposiveness and mind, and metaphysics and philosophical theology.
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Mark Brumley is president and CEO of Ignatius Press.