Thomas nagel believes that the inability to imagine what it is like to be a bat is a problem for physicalism the human mind is capable of understanding what it would be like as a bat, but is incapable of thinking how a bat experiences being a bat. Thomas nagel help us to understand the relation between mind and body- why, indeed, we have at present no conception of what an expla- nation of the physical nature of a mental phenomenon would be. Nagel uses the example of a bat to dramatise his case - how can we know what it is like to be a bat, from the inside there's a large rhetorical element in the choice of a bat bats have the traditional reputation of being a bit weird, and it's known that some of them have a sense we don't - echolocation. What is it like to be a bat is a paper by american philosopher thomas nagel, first published in the philosophical review in october 1974, and later in nagel's mortal questions (1979) in it, nagel argues that materialist theories of mind omit the essential component of consciousness , namely that there is something that it is (or feels) like.
Nagel states that any organism has conscious mental states if and only if there is something that it is like to be that organism—something it is like for the organism he's pretty much saying that to be conscious is to be a self who has a continuous conscious experience of life and living. What it is like to be an x are very peculiar, so peculiar that some may be inclined to doubt their reality, or the significance of claims about them to illustrate the connection between subjectivity and a point of. Why does nagel argue that an organism has conscious mental states iff there is something that it is like to be that organism he is drawing a distinction between mental states and physical states as a response to id theorists. Thomas nagel (/ ˈ n eɪ ɡ əl / born july 4, 1937) is an american philosopher and university professor of philosophy and law emeritus at new york university, where he taught from 1980 to 2016.
(note 8) nagel is not raising simply the epistemological problem that we cannot know what it is like to be a bat, but the deeper problem that we cannot even form a concept of what it is like to be a bat in the first place - and thus with even greater reason to know what it would be like (533, n 8, qv, cf vg2 below. One of my very best friends is a librarian and something i think about a lot is the time we were at a party and a very kind, very drunk woman found out she was a librarian and said, thank you for your service. Nagel tried to demonstrate the implausibility of the notion that, even if one knew all the relevant physical facts about the brains of bats, one could have any idea what it felt like to be a bat. Another theory in which nagel addresses is the concept of, ã¢â‚¬åwhat is it like to be a batã¢â‚¬â addresses that consciousness has an essential affect on a subjective character an organism has a mental conscious if that organism knows it has to become organism. Nagel uses bats as an example—how do we begin to understand what it is like to see with sonar and echolocation we have no subjective background for this so, the only thing we know (can ever really know) is what it is like to be ourselves ( subjectivism .
Suppose a caterpillar is locked in a sterile safe by someone unfamiliar with insect metamorphosis, and weeks later the safe is reopened, revealing a butterfly. 1 article 20 what is it like to be a bat thomas nagel introduction: thomas nagel was born in belgrade, yugo- slavia, in 1937 he came to the united states in 1939 and be-came a naturalized citizen five years later. The following essay critically assesses thomas nagel`s what is it like to be a bat i will introduce the content by explaining the importance of consciousness as well as the subjective character of experience.
Nagel believes reductionism is the most unlikely of all the current philosophical beliefs to shed life on consciousness he believes that in order to shed light on the relationship between mind and body, one must address consciousness -- and reductionism fails to do that. An analysis of thomas nagel's essay what is it like to be a bat by lisa guinther page | 1 an analysis of thomas nagel's essay what is it like to be a bat by lisa guinther this paper was written for philosophy 4360 with dr michael tooley in his essay what is it like to be a bat. Nagel thinks that for any organism, its conscious experience is determined by what it is like to be that organism any state or process that relates to thinking, feeling, etc (eg beliefs, desires, etc) defining a system as nothing more than the sum of or an account of its parts the.
For the best answers, search on this site never heard of thomas nagel, but it sounds like an interesting essay i'm not really sure i understand the theory though. We might be able to imagine what it would be like to hang upside down, fly through the night, or use echolocation to track prey, but nagel argues that we really couldn't know what a bat's experience is really like. Thomas nagel and what it is like to wonder what it is like to be a bat thomas nagel's paper what is it like to be a bat is a response to reductionist physicalist theories that attempt to reduce all of the phenomena of mind to matter or a function of matter. Nagel thinks that there is something that is what it is like to be, for example, a bat we are familiar with this sort of thing from our experience: when i am sitting in a chair, i know what it is like to be sitting in a chair.
Nagel not only try to imagine the state of being like a bat for him, this does not do with the concept he wanted to know what it is like for the bat itself (nagel, 1974, 436) transformation into a bat, even gradually, won't help him since he wanted to know it on his current situation. For nagel, then, only a few things can be safely stated on the physical and psychological problems one of them is to rescue physicalism: mental state is the body condition mental activity is the physical event. In nagel's paper what is it like to be a bat he explains how we can try to imagine what being a bat would be like (eg, 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.