He begins by looking at the very common views of death that are held by most people in the world, and tells us that he will talk of death as the "unequivocal and permanent end to our existence" and look directly at the What Does It All Mean?
This, for Nagel, elevates contingent conditions of our make-up into criteria for that which is real.
Thus the question, if death is the permanent end of our existence, is it a bad thing. One is dissolving oneself into distinct person-stages. In paragraph one of this essay, it expands on the epicurean argument for death not being a calamity for the one passing away Earlier, in The Possibility of Altruism, he took the stance that if one's reasons really are about intrinsic and timeless values then, qua subjective reason, one can only take them to be the guise of the reasons that there really are — the objective ones.
The discovery of wrongs done to us in our absence makes us unhappy because they are misfortunes. Nagel is probably most widely known within the field of philosophy of mind as an advocate of the idea that consciousness and subjective experience cannot, at least with the contemporary understanding of physicalismbe satisfactorily explained using the current concepts of physics.
Who suffers the misfortune?
He recommends a gradual move to much more demanding conceptions of equality, motivated by the special nature of political responsibility.
When the conflicts between countries escalates to some extent, any resolutions become unrealistic except violence, and wars then occur. On that understanding, Nagel is a conventional dualist about the physical and the mental.