Ideas from 'The Absurd' by Thomas Nagel [1971], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Mortal Questions' by Nagel,Thomas [CUP 1981,0-521-29460-6]].

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1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 1. Philosophy
If your life is to be meaningful as part of some large thing, the large thing must be meaningful
                        Full Idea: Those seeking to give their lives meaning usually envision a role in something larger than themselves, …but such a role can't confer significance unless that enterprise is itself significant.
                        From: Thomas Nagel (The Absurd [1971], §3)
                        A reaction: Which correctly implies that this way of finding meaning for one's life is doomed.
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 8. Social Justification
Justifications come to an end when we want them to
                        Full Idea: Justifications come to an end when we are content to have them end.
                        From: Thomas Nagel (The Absurd [1971], §3)
                        A reaction: This is the correct account, with the vital proviso that where justification comes to an end is usually a social matter. Robinson Crusoe doesn't care whether he 'knows' - he just acts on his beliefs.
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 2. Nihilism
If a small brief life is absurd, then so is a long and large one
                        Full Idea: If life is absurd because it only lasts seventy years, wouldn't it be infinitely absurd if it lasted for eternity? And if we are absurd because we are small, would we be any less absurd if we filled the universe?
                        From: Thomas Nagel (The Absurd [1971], §1)