Philosophy 65 (254):501-509 (1990)

Marilyn Friedman
Washington University in St. Louis
In The View from Nowhere , Thomas Nagel develops a theory of practical reasoning which attempts to give the personal, or subjective, point of view its due2 while still insisting on the objectivity of ethics. On the objective side, Nagel affirms that there are truths about values and reasons for action which are independent of the ways in which reasons and values appear to us, independent of our own particular beliefs and inclinations . The objective foundation for these truths consists in a certain distinctive process of understanding. Objective understanding is explicated in terms of an objective standpoint, a standpoint defined as impersonal, that is, as detached from the subjective point of view. The objective standpoint is structured by a conception ‘of the world as centerless—as containing ourselves and other beings with particular points of view’ . As with scientific reasoning, ‘we begin from our position inside the world and try to transcend it by regarding what we find here as a sample of the whole’
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100064718
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