Jonathan Gorman

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J.L Gorman Some Astonishing Things – Metaphilosophy, vol. 22, 1991 pp. 28-40


I believe that, when each of us reflect on the nature of the particular individual person we happen to be, we do so in the light of certain beliefs, puzzles, speculations and feelings. These beliefs, puzzles, speculations and feelings lie deep within us. Reflection on our individiual nature involves reflection on two sets of characteristics: first, those which we may suppose to be common to all individuals; second, those which are distinctively our own. When we reflect on our individual nature, it is not, for most people, for the sake of abstract philosophical interest or psychological curiosity. Rather, it is as part of the means of answering the question what we ought to do with our lives.

The search for explanatory and justicatory completeness of self-understanding is a paradigm of philosophical activity. It makes use of analytical skills. I propose in this paper to examine one particular problem: the place, in our conception of ourselves and our relation to the world, of a sense of astonishment at our existence…

The paper makes particular reference to Thomas Nagel:
T. Nagel – Mortal Questions, Cambridge University Press, 1979
T. Nagel – The View from Nowhere, Oxford University Press, 1986


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