Nagel on Realism

Reading Sam Harris’ The End of Faith. While it’s interesting, Harris really seems to go off on the deep end whenever he starts talking philosophy. Some ludicrous stuff on ethics. The he goes off on strawman arguments against relativism and pragmatism. Against pragmatism? Why that’s just un-American! In a lengthy end-note, he quotes Thomas Nagel’s three propositions which argue that realism, like, totally rules:

1. There are many truths about the world that we will never know and have no way of finding out.

2. Some of our beliefs are false and will never be discovered to be so.

3. If a belief is true, it would have been true even if no one believed it.

To which I reply:

1. Can you give me an example?

2. Can you give me an example?

3. Can you give me an example?

Hmmm, since number 1. tells us that we can never know that the universe is not the mad dream of a purple unicorn, I guess it follows that all knowledge is impossible. Man, realism sucks! I guess I’ll go back to being a pragmatist.

One Reply to “Nagel on Realism”

  1. Funny! Now it seems there’s tons of books jumping onto this publishing niche bandwagon. Not that I’ve read any of them. Guess I’m too much of a pragmatist!

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