What is Nagel’s definition of ‘The Absurd’?

Nagel suggests, rather straightforwardly, that absurdity in life as whole simply requires the extension of his analysis to every event in life. In other words, life as a whole is absurd if there is a persistent and inescapable discrepancy between what we hope or desire for our lives and what reality grants us.

What does Thomas Nagel mean in the absurd?

The Absurd Thomas Nagel
He argues first that the reasons that are ordinarily given for thinking that life is absurd are inadequate. He maintains, though, that there is indeed a sense in which the human condition is absurd, and attempts to show why this is so.

What does Nagel mean by absurdity?

Nagel, on the other hand, describes absurdity as a situation that “includes a conspicuous discrepancy between pretension or aspiration and reality.” (Nagel, 754). We as human beings take seriousness within our lives, but we cannot hide from the idea that everything we accomplish is arbitrary or open to doubt.

What is Camus definition of the absurd?

Camus defined the absurd as the futility of a search for meaning in an incomprehensible universe, devoid of God, or meaning. Absurdism arises out of the tension between our desire for order, meaning and happiness and, on the other hand, the indifferent natural universe’s refusal to provide that.

What does Kierkegaard mean by the absurd?

“The absurd” is Kierkegaard’s synonym for the religious level of existence, described in detail in Fear and Trembling, his analysis of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. There, the word refers to the incompatibility of rationality with religious belief.

What is the absurd according to Nagel quizlet?

Is Nagel arguing life is absurd or not? He argues we should deal with the absurdism in our life with an ironic smile and not take life too seriously. life does not have a meaning and this should not be a cause of sadness.

When did Thomas Nagel write the absurd?


In his article The Absurd (1971), American philosopher Thomas Nagel argues neither our pitifully short and fevered existence, nor our physical smallness relative to the universe, in itself, makes life absurd.

How does Nagel respond to the claim that our lives are absurd because nothing we do now will matter in a million years?

Instead, Nagel regards our recognition of absurdity as “a manifestation of our most advanced and interesting characteristics.”[ix] It is possible only because thought transcends itself. And by recognizing our true situation we no longer have reason to resent or escape our fate.

What does Thomas Nagel believe?

As a philosophical rationalist, Nagel believes that a proper understanding of the place of mental properties in nature will involve a revolution in our understanding of both the physical and the mental, and that this is a reasonable prospect that people can anticipate in the near future.

Was Thomas Nagel an absurdist?

Like the existentialists and absurdists of the 20th century, Nagel believes the human condition is ultimately absurd. For Nagel, this absurdity arises not because anything we do won’t matter in, say, a million years.

What is Nagel’s response to Camus?

Nagel takes Camus to say that “the absurd arises because the world fails to meet our demands for meaning (Nagel, p. 721).” He then criticizes this position for implicitly suggesting that if the world were somehow different (e.g. if there were a God), it might indeed be capable of satisfying those demands.

Does Nagel agree with Camus?

In his work “The Absurd”, Nagel provides direct objections to the views of Camus while focusing on the idea of the life’s absurdity and the premises of the argument supported by Camus.

Why our lives are absurd?

In conclusion, human life is naturally absurd, due to its being characterised by suffering, death and an absence of meaning. However, it may become otherwise as one may ‘stamp’ meaning onto life through compassion and striving for ‘Superman’ status. Doing so enables, and may provide, happiness.

What would it be to approach one’s life with irony as Nagel suggests we should do?

What would it be to approach one’s life with irony, as Nagel suggests we should do? We should adopt a attitude of irony because we can carry on living but not take ourselves too seriously. From the hyper-external standpoint we must regard our lives as arbitrary.

What makes something absurd?

In a general sense, the absurd is that which lacks a sense, often because it involves some form of contradiction. The absurd is paradoxical in the sense that it cannot be grasped by reason. But in the context of absurdism, the term is usually used in a more specific sense.