First there was my review of Nagel’s book for First Things, wherein I described the respects in which Nagel’s position constitutes a return to something like the Aristotelian understanding of the natural world that the early modern philosophers thought they had overthrown for good.
Then here on the blog I began a series of posts on “Nagel and his critics,” in which I respond to some of the naturalist philosophers Ferguson refers to in his piece:
Part I: Here I present some criticisms of my own, noting how Nagel has needlessly opened himself up to certain objections and other respects in which his book could have been stronger.
Part II: Here I respond to the objections raised fairly aggressively by naturalist philosophers Brian Leiter and Michael Weisberg in their review of Nagel in The Nation. I argue that Leiter and Weisberg misinterpret Nagel, beg the question against him, and in other ways utterly fail to justify their dismissive approach to the book.
Part III: This post addresses the more measured response to Nagel presented by Elliott Sober in his review in the Boston Review.
Part IV: Here I comment on Alva Noë, who responded to Nagel at his NPR blog and who is, among Nagel’s naturalist critics, perhaps the most perceptive and certainly the least hostile. (In a follow-up post I commented on some later remarks made by Noë on the subject of Nagel and the origin of life.)
Part V: This post responds to the very hostile remarks about Nagel made by John Dupré in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. I argue that, like Leiter and Weisberg, Dupré has simply missed the point and failed to address Nagel’s position at the deepest level.
Part VI: Here I respond to the serious and measured criticisms of Nagel raised by Eric Schliesser at the New APPS blog. (In a follow-up post I comment on Schliesser’s remarks about Alvin Plantinga’s “Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism,” which Nagel cites approvingly.)
Ferguson makes reference also to the views of naturalists Alex Rosenberg, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins. I have criticized Rosenberg’s book The Atheist’s Guide to Reality in detail in another series of posts. And I respond to Dennett and Dawkins at length in my book The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism.