On Thomas Nagel’s “What Does It All Mean?”

Johnny Lyons in the Dublin Review of Books:

If asked by someone who is unfamiliar with philosophy what they might read to begin to grasp the subject, I would recommend Thomas Nagel’s What Does It All Mean? If pressed as to why this book rather than others, my response would proceed along the following lines.

Philosophy is a fascinating and wickedly difficult subject. There are many who have tried to convey its interest but without doing justice to its complexity. Conversely, there are those who have sought to capture its intricacy but at the cost of losing sight of its vitality. Only a few have succeeded in giving an account of the subject that is both engaging to the newcomer and yet faithful to its difficulty, recognising that there’s no shallow end in the philosophical pool whilst providing beginners with enough buoyancy to keep their heads above water. Nagel’s concise primer (less than 25,000 words) stands proudly, even pre-eminently, among such select company.

More here.