Thomas Nagel is University Professor Emeritus at NYU. He is the author of The View from Nowhere, Mortal Questions, and Mind and ­Cosmos, among other books. (April 2018)

IN THE REVIEW

As If!

Kwame Anthony Appiah

As If: Idealization and Ideals

by Kwame Anthony Appiah
Kwame Anthony Appiah is a writer and thinker of remarkable range. He began his academic career as an analytic philosopher of language, but soon branched out to become one of the most prominent and respected philosophical voices addressing a wide public on topics of moral and political importance such as race, cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, codes of honor, and moral psychology. Two years ago he even took on the “Ethicist” column in The New York Times Magazine, and it is easy to become addicted to his incisive answers to the extraordinary variety of real-life moral questions posed by readers. Appiah’s latest book, As If: Idealization and Ideals, is in part a return to his earlier, more abstract and technical interests.

A Gruesome Ghost Dance

Jews in the camp-ghetto of Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, January 1944

Theresienstadt 1941–1945: The Face of a Coerced Community

by H. G. Adler, translated from the German by Belinda Cooper, with an afterword by Jeremy Adler
Theresienstadt, the concentration camp about forty miles north of Prague, held a unique place in the Nazis’ campaign of extermination. While its main purpose was to gather Jews from Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Germany for deportation to the death camps in Poland, it was presented to the outside world as a …

Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Daniel Dennett at the Centro Cultural de la Ciencia, Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 2016

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds

by Daniel C. Dennett
For fifty years the philosopher Daniel Dennett has been engaged in a grand project of disenchantment of the human world, using science to free us from what he deems illusions—illusions that are difficult to dislodge because they are so natural. In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, his eighteenth book, Dennett presents a valuable and typically lucid synthesis of his worldview.

How They Wrestled with the New

The Dream of Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Philosophy

by Anthony Gottlieb
Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, and Hume lived in a historical period dominated by dramatic developments and conflicts in three areas—science, religion, and politics—and their thoughts and writings were dominated by the need to respond to those developments, and to understand the relations among them.

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