Secular Philosophy and Religious Temperament – Reviews

These reviews below from Amazon re his book “Secular Philosophy and the Religious Temperament”.

“This book is a breeze to read. I read it in a day. Thomas Nagel’s enormous strength (akin to Richard Rorty’s) is his calm explanatory clarity. He is very good at getting to the heart of a thing, then discussing it with insight and measure.  For example, there is an essay on Nietzsche in this collection that, for its clean, seemingly effortless prose, and the light that he casts upon his subject—is worth the price of the whole book.  Nagel also discusses Hobbes, Rawls, Michael Sandel, Catharine MacKinnon, and Sartre admirably.

In this particular collection of essays, however, it is on the subject of religion and atheism that Nagel shines most brightly.  He is very good at talking about naturalism, Richard Dawkins, and Intelligent Design.  By contrast with the entrenched factions dug in around these subjects, Nagel is sane and insightful.  My impression is that Nagel, when push comes to shove regarding purpose in the universe, inclines toward Camus’s notion of the absurd.  But he is just agnostic enough to keep other possibilities in play, and so not shut down discussion with eye-rolling contempt.  This makes him, apparently, noxious in the eyes of New Atheists.  And well he should be, for his is a still open mind.