Thomas Nagel. What is it like to be a bat?

screen capture from http://organizations.utep.edu/portals/1475/nagel_bat.pdf
on September 5, 2017
image © we find wildness

What is it like to be a bat? is a text by American philosopher THOMAS NAGEL, first published in The Philosophical Review in October 1974.

In it, NAGEL explains how we can try to imagine what being a bat would be like (e.g., using sonar, sleeping upside down, eating bugs) but we can only get as far as imagining what it would be like for us to behave as a bat behaves and not how the bat truly experiences its experiences. NAGEL’s ‘subjective character of experience’ is the idea that if an organism has conscious mental states, then there is something that it is like to be that organism. Essentially, each organism has a unique subjective perspective and conscious experience that is only comprehensible from the organism’s point of view.

The entire text is available online via http://organizations.utep.edu/portals/1475/nagel_bat.pdf



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