I am beginning to feel a little sorry for Thomas Nagel. It looks as if the only favorable mainstream reviews he will receive for his efforts in Mind and Cosmos will be from theists. What excites the theists' approbation, of course, are not Nagel's positive panpsychist and natural-teleological suggestions, which remain within the ambit of naturalism, but his assault on materialist naturalism. As Alvin Plantinga writes in his excellent review, Why Darwinist Materialism is Wrong, "I applaud his formidable attack on materialist naturalism; I am dubious about panpsychism and natural teleology." And so Nagel's predicament, at least among reviewers in the philosophical mainstream, seems to be as follows. The naturalists will reject his book utterly, both in its negative and positive parts, while the theists will embrace the critique of materialist naturalism while rejecting his panpsychism and natural-teleologism.
Plantinga's review, like ancient Gaul, est in partes tres divisa.
In the first part, Plantinga take himself to be in agreement with Nagel on four points. (1) It is extremely improbable that life could have arisen from inanimate matter by the workings of the laws of physics and chemistry alone. (2) But supposing life has arisen, then natural selection can go to work on random genetic mutations. Still, it is incredible that that all the fantastic variety of life, including human beings, should have arisen in this way. (3) Materialist naturalism cannot explain consciousness. (4) Materialist naturalism cannot explain belief, cognition, and reason.
In the second part of his review, Plantinga discusses Nagel's rejection of theism. Apart from Nagel's honestly admitted temperamental disinclination to believe in God, Plantinga rightly sees Nagel's main substantive objection to theism to reside in theism's putative offense against the unity of the world. But at this point I hand off to myself. In my post Nagel's Reason for Rejecting Theism I give a somewhat more detailed account than does Plantinga of Nagel's rejection.
In the third part of his review, Plantina expresses his doubts about panpsychism and natural teleology. I tend to agree that there could not be purposes without a purposer:
As for natural teleology: does it really make sense to suppose that the world in itself, without the presence of God, should be doing something we could sensibly call “aiming at” some states of affairs rather than others—that it has as a goal the actuality of some states of affairs as opposed to others? Here the problem isn’t just that this seems fantastic; it does not even make clear sense. A teleological explanation of a state of affairs will refer to some being that aims at this state of affairs and acts in such a way as to bring it about. But a world without God does not aim at states of affairs or anything else. How, then, can we think of this alleged natural teleology?
Plantinga ends by suggesting that if it weren't for Nagel's antipathy to religion, his philosophical good sense would lead him to theism.
My posts on Nagel's book are collected here.
Addendum (11/19): In case you missed it, Nagel reviewed Plantinga.