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Cognition [an excerpt from Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos]

Thomas Nagel

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines another type of antireductionist argument and its consequences. It first identifies the problem concerning mental functions such as reasoning, thought, and evaluation that are limited to humans. It questions whether a person’s cognitive capacities can be placed in the framework of an evolutionary theory that is no longer exclusive but still retains the Darwinian structure. It then shows ways of thinking about the basic reasoning capacities and studies the faculty that allows people to escape from the world of appearance that is presented by their prereflective innate dispositions, and move into the world of objective reality. This chapter also takes a look at teleological principles as part of the natural order and lists some alternatives.

Keywords:   antireductionist argument, mental functions, cognitive capacities, evolutionary theory, Darwinian structure, basic reasoning, world of appearance, objective reality, teleological principles, natural order

Link to the chapter in .pdf: Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conceptionof Nature is Almost Certainly False