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Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos: Not Quite Real Enough

Posted on Mar 12, 2013 by Tom Gilson

Book Review

Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False by Thomas Nagelnagelbookcover.jpg

Fact: Human consciousness is real.

Fact: Human rationality is real.

Fact: Human value judgments refer to real truths.

Fact: All of this is impossible on a materialist Neo-Darwinian conception of nature.

So says Thomas Nagel, the highly distinguished philosopher on faculty at New York University. From the above, one might expect him to number himself among the proponents of Intelligent Design, and indeed he mentions Stephen Meyer and Michael Behe with appreciation. However:

Fact: Thomas Nagel is a confirmed atheist who rejects ID theory.

If ID and materialist neo-Darwisnism are ruled out, what then does that leave as an explanation for what we are and how we came to be this way? Nagel doesn’t know, but whatever it is, it’s vastly different from what any of us has conceived nature to be.

He rejects theism, he says, because (p. 21, Nook version),

I confess to an ungrounded assumption of my own, in not finding it possible to regard the design alternative as a real option. I lack the sensus divinitatis that enables—indeed compels—so many people to see in the world the expression of divine purpose as naturally as they see in a smiling face the expression of human feeling. [In a footnote here, he adds, “I am not just unreceptive but strongly averse to the idea, as I have said elsewhere.”] So my speculations about an alternative to physics as a theory of everything do not invoke a transcendent being but tend toward complications to the immanent character of the natural order.

Complications indeed. The reductionist, physics-based natural order we thought we knew is inadequate, he says, because it literally cannot accommodate consciousness, rationality, and real value, and yet they exist.

Mind As a Basic Aspect of Nature

“My guiding conviction,” he says on page 24, “is that mind is not just an afterthought or an accident or an add-on, but a basic aspect of nature.” His reasoning is summarized (p. 26) in that

one cannot really understand the scientific world view unless one assumes that the intelligibility of the world, as described by the laws that science has uncovered, is itself part of the deepest explanation of why things are the way they are…. The intelligibility of the world is no accident.

The Puzzle That Presents

He refuses to shrink from the puzzle this poses, based on regnant views of reality. Or rather, he finds it odd (p. 28) that anyone should be so convinced that deterministic naturalism must be true:

Everyone acknowledges that there are vast amounts we do not know, and that enormous opportunities for progress in understanding lie before us. But scientific naturalists claim to know what the form of that progress will be, and to know that mentalistic, teleological, or evaluative intelligibility in particular have been left behind for good as fundamental forms of understanding.

He acknowledges naturalism’s appeal: “After all, what is the alternative?” And then he explains (p. 29),

That is really my question. The implausibility of the reductive program that is needed to defend the completeness of this kind of naturalism provides a reason for trying to think of alternatives—alternatives that make mind, meaning, and value as fundamental as matter and space-time in an account of what there is…. Something more is needed to explain how there can be conscious thinking creatures whose bodies and brains are composed of those elements…. we must start with an adequate range of data, and those data must include the evident facts about ourselves.

Refreshing Humanness

This is refreshing, coming from an atheist. There is far too much denial of human free will among writers like Jerry Coyne and Sam Harris; too much denial of human consciousness from Daniel Dennett, the Churchlands, and others; too much rejection of obvious moral realities by relativists almost everywhere one looks. All of this amounts to a denial of the most basic information we humans have at our disposal: that we are in fact human, that we are conscious, rational, moral creatures.

These “scientific materialists” (to use Nagel’s term, which I happen to dislike—I prefer “philosophical materialists”) all take it that if there is no God, th3en these human characteristics are strictly impossible and must therefore be illusions foisted upon us by nature. Typically they exclude rationality from that judgment, but only because the absurdity of their conclusions becomes more salient than they can even pretend to hide from at that point.

Broaching New Possibilities

Nagel takes this human data as real, and more power to him. What does it lead to, then, in his opinion? Mind at the heart of reality, but not the mind of God. “The process seems to be one of the universe gradually waking up” (p. 125); it is “some form of natural teleology” (p. 132). He continues,

The universe has become not only conscious and aware of itself but capable in some respects of choosing its path into the future.

These teleological speculations are offered merely as possibilities, without conviction. What I am convinced of is the negative claim that, in order to understand our questions and judgments about values and reasons realistically, we must reject the idea that they result from the operation of faculties that have been formed from scratch by chance plus natural selection, or that we are incidental side effects of natural selection, or are products of genetic drift.

And on page 135,

I have thought it useful to speculate about possible alternatives. Above all, I would like to extend the boundaries of what is not regarded as unthinkable, in light of how little we really understand about the world.

A Courageous Leap

There is much to appreciate in this assessment of reality and how little we know of it. It’s courageous, even bracing. To criticize materialist neo-Darwinism is nothing if not dangerous, and Nagel has taken it on the chin from many negative naturalistic reviewers. To propose an entirely new way of looking at reality is a bold step. Either that or it is a leap into darkness.

And it’s hard to evade the latter conclusion. Nagel owns up to it: he’s proposing something he can’t describe, can’t explain, can’t justify in any terms other than that it seems to be demanded of our humanness, as long as one denies God as the explanation. For me it is a leap too far, to suppose that the universe might be “waking up” or “become conscious and aware of itself,” just on the basis of some impersonal principle of mind.

But What About Personality?

In fact that in itself summarizes the problem. Nagel proposes a deep principle of Mind at the heart of reality, on account of consciousness, rationality, and value. I wonder why he did not also include personality (or personhood): that aspect of humanness that is centered on each person having (or being) a self in relationship with other selves, each self being distinct and whole in his or her own self and yet interdependent with other selves in almost every conceivable way; and each self having the capacity to make goal-directed decisions and act upon them.

Nagel excludes the possibility of God. On page 41 he sums up his proposal so far as leading to an understanding whose

essential character … would be to explain the appearance of life, consciousness, reason, and knowledge neither as accidental side effects of the physical laws of nature nor as the result of intentional intervention from without but as an unsurprising if not inevitable consequence of the order that governs the natural world from within…. I suspect it will have to include teleological elements.

By “teleological” here he means something like “tending toward some definite end or goal;” but he specifically includes intentionality. His proposed universe has no personality at its core. And yet it has produced personality, just as unquestionably as it has done with consciousness, rationality, and morality.

Something is missing there—something that cannot be accounted for in terms of grandly pathetic metaphors of the universe waking up and becoming conscious of itself. He speaks (p. 31) of “mind and all that it implies.” Does not mind—at least mind on human scale—imply personality? And could Mind on any scale less than human account for all that Nagel wants it to explain?

And so while Nagel has taken a courageous and refreshing position here, it remains implausible for excluding the reality of personality/personhood. If he is right (as I think he is) that materialist neo-Darwinism is even less plausible, then what remains is theism.

Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False by Thomas Nagel. New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2012. 144 pages. Amazon Price (Hardcover) US$17.64.

29 Responses to “ Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos: Not Quite Real Enough ”

  1. SteveK says:

    This reminds me of the story from I don’t know where, about the atheist/naturalist climbing the metaphorical mountain of knowledge and understanding and finally reaching the peak only to find the theist already there.

    Keep climbing, Nagel, you’re almost there. Let those at the top help you up the mountain. :)

  2. BillT says:

    This reminds me of a conversation I had once where I stated the universe must exist in one of two states. Either with or without God. Now, the person who I was speaking to didn’t believe in God but wisely wanted nothing to do with explaining how consciousness, rationality, morality, free will, etc. could exist without one. Instead, in response to my proposition he said “I don’t believe that.” I said, “You don’t believe the universe must exist in one of two states either with or without God?” He said, No I don’t. “What do you believe,” I asked? “I don’t know”, he replied, “just not either one of those.”

  3. John Moore says:

    You wrote, “If there is no God, then these human characteristics (free will, consciousness, moral realities) are strictly impossible.”

    This is not true. Maybe you’re clinging to a particular definition of those human characteristics that depends on God. Without God, you would have to change your definition or conception, but that doesn’t mean the human characteristics don’t exist at all. They’re just different from what you thought.

    Nagel doesn’t know how materialism could account for human consciousness, but his ignorance provides no evidence that a materialist explanation can’t exist. I myself have such an explanation. I admit might be wrong, but if even I can come up with such an explanation, that suggests the real truth might be material. We can’t rule it out.

  4. Cam says:

    There’s a broad range of approaches to the consciousness problem, but I think any serious one needs to acknowledge that the mind is almost entirely linked to the brain, which is a physical organ. Everything suggests, to me, that consciousness is solely the product of the brain.

    -as we get older our minds and memories deteriorate, as we would expect if the mind was the product of an ageing organ. How does this make sense if the mind is all or partially immaterial?

    -when we are young our intellect and memory is poor/inferior/incomplete, as we would expect from a developing organ. Why would this be the case under a dualist doctrine?

    -changes in our mind result in measurable changes in the brain, and affecting the brain organ affects our mind. This is to be expected under a materialist doctrine. It doesn’t make any sense under a dualist one-if god values our consciousness so much, why did he orchestrate the universe in such a way that our consciousness can be irrevocably damaged?

  5. JAD says:

    John Moore writes:

    Nagel doesn’t know how materialism could account for human consciousness, but his ignorance provides no evidence that a materialist explanation can’t exist. I myself have such an explanation. I admit might be wrong, but if even I can come up with such an explanation, that suggests the real truth might be material. We can’t rule it out.

    So your argument is you have “an explanation… [that] might be wrong.” You just have to claim you have explanation, you don’t have to give us the explanation?

  6. Stephen says:

    In the first chapter of Contingency, Rorty
    suggests how his early inquiries into philosophy of language might be linked with his later incarnation as a social commentator, writing that aFreud, Netzsche, and Bloom do for our conscience what Wittgenstein and Davidson do for our language, namely, exhibit its sheer
    contingency

    http://hvrd.me/13SnpqB

    May as well give another philosopher equal time. I believe Richard Rorty would label Negal a “Metaphysician” something he sees very much like the theologian” in their insistence upon there being something that stands outside time and change that humans are responsible to “something like that”

    One point here is that Negal is far from settling points like:

    Fact: Human consciousness is real.

    Fact: Human rationality is real.

    Fact: Human value judgments refer to real truths.

  7. Stephen says:

    In the first chapter of Contingency, Rorty
    suggests how his early inquiries into philosophy of language might be linked with his later incarnation as a social commentator, writing that aFreud, Netzsche, and Bloom do for our conscience what Wittgenstein and Davidson do for our language, namely, exhibit its sheer
    contingency

    http://hvrd.me/13SnpqB

    May as well give another philosopher equal time. I believe Richard Rorty would label Negal a “Metaphysician” something he sees very much like the theologian” in their insistence upon there being something that stands outside time and change that humans are responsible to “something like that”

    One point here is that Negal is far from settling points like:

    Fact: Human consciousness is real.

    Fact: Human rationality is real.

    Fact: Human value judgments refer to real truths.

    I’m sure in a larger reading of Negal we would find an account of “real” that would make our heads spin and without that, we have no business treating some of his posits this way.

  8. Stephen says:

    Is it just me or is there a hint of selective use of Negal here: giving a tone of finality and authority to the statements that Negal makes which you want to embrace; those that serve your apologetic motivation, e.g, the list of “facts” at the top, but drop that tone when he doesn’t come through with the goods and affirm your religious beliefs? Could this be an example of cherry picking? Confirmation bias? What I called in another thread “rationalizing”?

  9. Stephen says:

    Just Signing up to get email posts

  10. Melissa says:

    Stephen,

    It really is just you. It’s quite normal when reviewing a book to discuss both your disagreement and agreement with the author. Generally the tone will be one of approval where people agree. Tom has been completely up front about where his disagreement with Nagel lies – so it’s not a case of cherry picking.

    I’m sure in a larger reading of Negal we would find an account of “real” that would make our heads spin and without that, we have no business treating some of his posits this way.

    You’re sure are you? Either you have a substantial criticism of the way Tom has represented Nagel’s position or you don’t. If you do please offer it, otherwise stop filling the combox with fluff.

  11. Tom Gilson says:

    Stephen, if you read the book and find I have misrepresented Nagel’s views on the reality of consciousness, rationality, and value judgments, I’d be very happy for you to tell me what I got wrong.

    To criticize me based on no information, just because you suppose I got something wrong, seems prejudicial or biased. And remember, you have raised more than one caution against bias.

  12. bigbird says:

    Stephen, I have read the majority of Nagel’s book, and Tom has represented him accurately as far as I have read.

    You need only read some of the many hostile reviews of his book to realise that many people are uncomfortable with his conclusions.

    Nagel made a rather revealing statement in an earlier book, which is probably well known here. I’ll repeat it because it is pertinent:

    “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that”

  13. TFBW says:

    @John Moore, #3:

    Nagel doesn’t know how materialism could account for human consciousness, but his ignorance provides no evidence that a materialist explanation can’t exist. I myself have such an explanation.

    Don’t be coy. That’s a major philosophical breakthrough you’re hiding behind your back, there. Show us what you got.

  14. Tom Gilson says:

    Just saw this. Here’s an ironic description for you:

    “A mob is indeed forming, a mob of materialists, of free-thinking inquisitors.”

    Whether “mob” is accurate I won’t say. I was thinking of how strange it is that we have “free-thinking inquisitors” today. Is he right?

  15. JAD says:

    From The New Republic article:

    I understand that nobody is going to burn Nagel’s book or ban it. These inquisitors are just more professors. But he is being denounced not merely for being wrong. He is being denounced also for being heretical. I thought heresy was heroic. I guess it is heroic only when it dissents from a doctrine with which I disagree. Actually, the defense of heresy has nothing to do with its content and everything to do with its right. Tolerance is not a refutation of heresy, but a retirement of the concept.

    It appears the inquisition has not gone away, it’s just changed locations from the medieval church to the modern university.

  16. Stephen says:

    Tom Said:

    Stephen, if you read the book and find I have misrepresented Nagel’s views on the reality of consciousness, rationality, and value judgments, I’d be very happy for you to tell me what I got wrong.

    To criticize me based on no information, just because you suppose I got something wrong, seems prejudicial or biased. And remember, you have raised more than one caution against bias.

    I haven’t read Negal but I have read a number of other 20th century philosophers. Enough to know what it takes to be in the conversation. It is not a stretch to infer that because Negal stands as a significant voice among them he must have explained his terms, like “real”, and his explanation is very unlikely to be similar to the man on the street’s concept of it. If you knew your readers to be reading the body of philosophy literature, you could get away with the assumption that a word like “real” didn’t need to be explained. Are your readers like that?

    So you made the assumption that your readers could get by with their common concept of “real” and I made the assumption that Negal’s is too different from that to be left untreated. My comments to this effect where less “fluff” (Melissa) for this reason, than yours are.

  17. Stephen says:

    Melissa said:

    It really is just you. It’s quite normal when reviewing a book to discuss both your disagreement and agreement with the author. Generally the tone will be one of approval where people agree. Tom has been completely up front about where his disagreement with Nagel lies – so it’s not a case of cherry picking.

    I don’t think of good reviews as being about “agreement and disagreement”. In a philosophy book review it is an honest account of how the author levies blows to opposing views, ones own views, and sites criticisms like incoherence. Agreement and disagreement? Not very important or interesting. In any case this isn’t just your run of the mill book review because Tom has a project that the book review is cast in, a Christian apologetic aim, not a philosophy corner book review. I read Tom for his Christian apologetic, not his philosophical insights and from his review, we can see that he isn’t so much doing a book review as he is doing Christian apologetic. When the book review can be shown to be used selectively toward an ideological aim, it is non-trivial. This is especially important given my comments on another blog post, where this becomes an example of those points (Tom would see that). This is a problem for Tom because he can’t escape it without giving up his project. He is left with confirmation bias infected views and “reviews”.

  18. bigbird says:

    When the book review can be shown to be used selectively toward an ideological aim, it is non-trivial.

    I don’t profess to understand what this statement means.

    The book is written by a highly respected philosopher who is an atheist, and yet it is presenting a highly critical view of scientific materialism. That’s what the book is about. And that is extremely relevant to Christian apologetics.

    A suggestion – read the book for yourself and post your impressions after doing so. It’s quite a concise book.

  19. Tom Gilson says:

    Stephen, please, now.

    I have read enough of the conversation to know that if Nagel had meant something other than what I summarized here, he would have said so.

    Do you have a “project”? It certainly appears that you do. I’m being as forthright as I can possibly be about mine, and you are free to read anything I write in light of that. Are you as forthcoming?

  20. Debilis says:

    For those that are interested, Dr. Edward Feser (author or “The Last Superstition”) has written up quite a bit on Nagel.

    I’m very interested in the book, as he’s adding more nails to the coffin of the materialism which was taken for obvious truth for so long in academia.

    I think we are witnessing a slow retreat of atheism as the dominant position among the very educated.

  21. Stephen says:

    Nagel is not a physicalist because he does not believe that an internal understanding of mental concepts shows them to have the kind of hidden essence that underpins a scientific identity in, say, chemistry. But his skepticism is about current physics: he envisages in his most recent work that people may be close to a scientific breakthrough in identifying an underlying essence that is neither physical (as people currently think of the physical), nor functional, nor mental, but such that it necessitates all three of these ways in which the mind “appears” to us. The difference between the kind of explanation he rejects and those that he accepts depends on his understanding of transparency: from his earliest paper to the most recent Nagel has always insisted that a prior context is required to make identity statements plausible, intelligible and transparent.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Nagel
    Yeah, we’re talkin’ Nagel!

  22. Stephen says:

    The question is, how does what Nagel says serve the purpose of Christian apologetic? What point is being supported or denied that would make an Atheist question his disbelief that there exists a supernatural, all powerful God that created the universe along with human’s, created the possibility of humans to be in relationship with “him” and also to be out of relationship with him by disobeying him: a God who created a universe where when two original humans disobeyed him, not just those two, but all descendants where equally in need of repairing their relationship with God: a God that created a universe where the solution for this broken relationship between humans and himself was to subject a human to a torturous blood spilling death by crucifixion, that is to say, a human sacrifice, where the blood serves as an offering for the propitiation of sins: a God that turns out to be so much like all of the “false” Gods that were worshiped by other humans for tens of thousands of years. What is there in what Nagel is saying here to make an atheist put an end to his disbelief that a being capable of creating the universe could have ALSO authorized the bible as his “word”?

  23. bigbird says:

    how does what Nagel says serve the purpose of Christian apologetic?

    Naively perhaps, I would think that if it is is highly likely that scientific materialism (a position held by many atheists) is false , then the intellectually honest thing to do would be to look at alternatives. Theism is one of those alternatives. Nagel proposes another.

    What is there in what Nagel is saying here to make an atheist put an end to his disbelief that a being capable of creating the universe could have ALSO authorized the bible as his “word”?

    Nothing, and no-one has claimed otherwise. What Nagel is saying *should* make an atheist consider that a being capable of creating the universe is perhaps a more rational explanation for our existence than scientific materialism.

  24. Stephen says:

    @Bigbird. As one atheist, a belief in the importance of genetics, environment, culture is not a place I go because I have rejected Christian dogma. I could completely flip my personal philosophy, as I in fact have; philosophers could completely pull the rug out from under me, as they have, and not be caused to re-evaluate Christian dogma. There are just too many better places to land.In fact, when I reach some unsettling insight in my personal view, which causes me to re-situate myself, I see myself as moving to a place further from Christianity when I land, not closer.

    I think you can flip this upside down and use it as a criticism of this blog post: There seems to be an assumption that if you can do damage to the materialistic view you are somehow bolstering the Christian view. Not logical.They do not have that sort of relationship – it isn’t like the two views are situated on a see-saw and if you take one side down, the other one wins.

  25. bigbird says:

    As one atheist, a belief in the importance of genetics, environment, culture is not a place I go because I have rejected Christian dogma. I could completely flip my personal philosophy, as I in fact have; philosophers could completely pull the rug out from under me, as they have, and not be caused to re-evaluate Christian dogma. There are just too many better places to land.

    I really don’t follow your reasoning. How can someone completely flip their personal philosophy, and not re-evaluate a widely held alternative? I mean, if you were wrong about your personal philosophy, doesn’t that mean you might be wrong about Christianity?

    Or is it a case of completely flipping your personal philosophy with the exception of your views on Christianity?

    There seems to be an assumption that if you can do damage to the materialistic view you are somehow bolstering the Christian view. Not logical.They do not have that sort of relationship – it isn’t like the two views are situated on a see-saw and if you take one side down, the other one wins.

    I agree that it isn’t a see-saw – but if you take one view down, you are left with fewer alternatives. And if someone is willing to accept that a view such as scientific materialism is incorrect, they should surely jettison preconceptions about about the other alternatives.

  26. Stephen says:

    Bigbird, I think your questions stem from thinking of these things in an all-or-nothing frame. Notice what Nagel did according to this other review of the same book

    Nagel actually puts forward only sketches of various arguments against the materialist and neo-Darwinian form of naturalism he opposes. The bulk of his short book is devoted instead to the positive task of developing an alternative form of naturalist, and a tentative and inchoate one at that.

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/10/nagel-and-his-critics-part-i.html
    According to this reviewer, Nagel hasn’t done a wholesale rejection of naturalism, he seems to be picking on nuanced points and seeks an alternative, but still one that could be called naturalistic. Not all of these changes, I would guess few of them, come in big forms like “becoming a Christian” or “loosing ones faith”. Most are smaller refining moves, like Nagel seems to be doing.

    I really don’t follow your reasoning. How can someone completely flip their personal philosophy, and not re-evaluate a widely held alternative?

    Just imagine yourself reevaluating Islam if you came to see Christianity as a poor way to view yourself in relation to the world and how to cope with it. Some things just don’t need reevaluation.

  27. bigbird says:

    According to this reviewer, Nagel hasn’t done a wholesale rejection of naturalism, he seems to be picking on nuanced points and seeks an alternative, but still one that could be called naturalistic.

    I’ve read Feser’s review, and I believe you are misrepresenting it.

    Feser goes on in the next paragraph to say that “it would be a grave mistake to suppose that sketchy arguments are all Nagel has to offer against the “materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature.” … Mind and Cosmos is essentially the work of a philosopher who has already either developed himself or discovered in other writers decisive grounds for rejecting the prevailing form of naturalism and is eager finally to move beyond this negative task and to begin the search for an alternative.”

    That sounds like a wholesale rejection to me.

    Just imagine yourself reevaluating Islam if you came to see Christianity as a poor way to view yourself in relation to the world and how to cope with it. Some things just don’t need reevaluation.

    It’s difficult to place myself in a position I haven’t been in as I have been a Christian for a long time, but my guess is that if I decided Christianity wasn’t a valid way to view the world, all other worldviews would be up for re-evaluation.

    If I could be so wrong about my own strongly held worldview, then it would seem that I could quite easily be wrong about other worldviews I don’t hold. Everything would need re-evaluation.

  28. Tom Gilson says:

    Nagel’s rejection of materialism is hard to characterize as “wholesale.” He absolutely rejects absolute materialism (or at least he proposes a possible program that would have that effect). What he proposes in its place is hard to characterize. It’s not theism. It could conceivably materialsm-plus, as in materialism-plus-mind. That’s because, although he thinks there could be Mind at the basis of reality, he doesn’t have anything yet to offer as to how Mind relates to matter or to materialistically understood reality.

    On the one hand I think his caution is appropriate. The book is a proposal that thinkers begin exploring the possibility that the world is different than we have thought it was. On the other hand, it seems a forlorn business, and an unnecessary one in view of theism’s already-existing answer to how eternal Mind relates to material creation.

  29. JAD says:

    From what I understand of Nagel’s work he is probably best described as a non-materialist, anti-reductionist naturalist. His thinking seems to be very close to that of David Chalmers.

    Chalmers in his book, The Conscious Mind, wrote that “Consciousness is a surprising feature of our universe. Our grounds for belief in consciousness derive solely from our experience of it. Even if we know every last detail about the physics of the universe—the configuration, causation, and evolution among all the fields and particles in the spatial temporal manifold—that information would not lead us to postulate the existence of conscious experience. My knowledge of consciousness in the first instance comes from my own case, not from any external observation. It is my first-person experience of consciousness that forces the problem on me.” (p101,102)

    However, as non-theists both Chalmers and Nagel opt for the same “naturalistic friendly” explanation: pan psychism. So close but yet so far… What else can I say?

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