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The View from Nowhere

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The View from Nowhere is a book by philosopher Thomas Nagel. Published by Oxford University Press in 1986, it contrasts passive and active points of view in how humanity interacts with the world, relying either on a subjective perspective that reflects a point of view or an objective perspective that takes a more detached perspective.[1] Nagel describes the objective perspective as the "view from nowhere", one where the only valuable ideas are ones derived independently.[2]


Historian Peter Gay praised The View from Nowhere.[3] Philosopher Thomas Metzinger praised and criticized the book's central concept as "beautiful" but untenable.[4]


  1. ^ McGinn, Colin (1997). Minds and Bodies: Philosophers and Their Ideas. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-511355-6.[page needed]
  2. ^ Thomas, Alan (2015). Thomas Nagel. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-49418-8.[page needed]
  3. ^ Gay, Peter (1990). Reading Freud: Explorations & Entertainments. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. p. 186. ISBN 0-300-05127-1.
  4. ^ Thomas Metzinger (2003). Being No One: The Self-model Theory of Subjectivity. MIT Press. p. 582. ISBN 0-262-13417-9. But when Thomas Nagel developed the beautiful philosophical vision of the View from Nowhere he was not selfless at all. If Nagel had ever truly viewed the world from nowhere, then he would not have had any autobiographical memory referring to this episode.