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Nov 9, 2019
Here's a link to the PDF:

Doing some research for a manuscript I'm writing for my own edification and amusement, and I keep coming across references to it. Leading me to think it is pretty influential. Nagel's short essay seems on balance like a reasonable approach, but it is also is confirmatory of pretty much what I already believe, just with more formal language and a better vocabulary than I possess. 🤷‍♂️ Meaning, of course I'm more likely to accept it uncritically than I might be otherwise.

I do disagree with:

  • his critique of Epicurus' idea that death should not be viewed tragically (I'm with Epicurus here) since there was an infinite amount time before we were born, why worry about when we're gone?
  • The end of the essay with the claim of, well, let me just quote it:
A man's sense of his own experience, on the other hand, does not
embody this idea of a natural limit. His existence defines for him an essentially
open-ended possible future, containing the usual mixture of goods and evils
that he has found so tolerable in the past. Having been gratuitously introduced
to the world by a collection of natural, historical, and social accidents, he finds
himself the subject of a life, with an indeterminate and not essentially limited

The idea of an "open ended possible future" for someone like me (approaching age 60) is laughably optimistic. Most doors closed long ago, at least for me.

Other than that, I was nodding along in substantial agreement. Curious what others think.
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Reactions: Professor K, loopdaloop, noname223 and 1 other person


We just want to go home early.
Feb 17, 2020
I've heard of someone saying this: "The road only gets narrower." Life deteriorates. Things get worse. Entropy increases.


Jul 11, 2021
Thanks for the reading suggestion. I will come back to share my experiences with it.