What Is It Like To Be A Bat Analysis

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In Nagel’s “What Is It Like To Be a Bat?” he attempts to refute reductionism by stating that in order to understand the relationship between mind and body, one must address consciousness and reductionism fails to do that. Nagel lays strong emphasis on what he calls ‘subjective character of experience’ which states that everything has its own interpretation of what it is like to be themselves. Fundamentally, each organism has a unique subjective perspective and conscious experience that is only understandable from the organism’s point of view.

He explains how we can try to imagine what being a bat would be like (e.g., using sonar, sleeping upside down, eating bugs) but this is just what it is like for us to be a bat and not what it is like for a bat to be a bat. Nagel claims that even if humans were able to metamorphose gradually into bats, their brains would not have been wired as bats from birth; therefore, they would only be able to experience the life and behaviors of a bat, rather than the mindset. Such is the difference between subjective and objective points of view. Nagel argues that consciousness has a subjective aspect, and that understanding other mental states is difficult or impossible for those not able to experience those mental states.
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Because of this, it is impossible to objectively comprehend what it is like to be another being; no matter how much detail we put into the description, conscious beings are far too complex for us to fully understand each other's experience, and it is impossible for us to give an all-encompassing description of our own experience. Whereas objectivity on the other hand, requires an unbiased, non-subjective state of perception. For Nagel, the objective perspective is not feasible, because humans are limited to subjective

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