Thomas Nagel's Mortal Questions explores some fundamental issues concerning the meaning, nature and value of human life. Questions about our attitudes to death, sexual behaviour, social inequality, war and political power are shown to lead to more obviously philosophical problems about personal identity, consciousness, freedom, and value. This original and illuminating book aims at a form of understanding that is both theoretical and personal in its lively engagement with what are literally issues of life and death.
Preface; Sources; 1. Death; 2. The Absurd; 3. Moral luck; 4. Sexual perversion; 5. War and massacre; 6. Ruthlessness in public life; 7. The policy of preference; 8. Equality; 9. The fragmentation of value; 10. Ethics without biology; 11. Brain bisection and the unity of consciousness; 12. What is it like to be a bat?; 13. Panpsychism; 14. Subjective and objective; Index.
'Thomas Nagel writes with all the clarity and all the plainness of style that analytical philosophers have always admired ... if anyone can seize and keep the general reader's attention, it must be Thomas Nagel with this book.' New Statesman
'... a fine achievement. Few professional philosophers have written so rationally and agreeably on such a variety of difficult and serious problems.' P. F. Strawson, New York Review of Books
'These essays ... convey to an interested non-philosopher a real sense of the excitement and significance of philosophical enquiry.' R. A. Duff, The Literary Review