Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Nagel's bat argument Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2500 words

Nagel's bat argument - Essay Example This shortcoming in Nagel’s argument comes as a result of a conceptual error regarding the nature of a mind-independent, or objective, phenomenon. The nature of phenomenal experience can be illustrated with a thought experiment. A scientist can apply artificial impulses to a subject’s cerebrum through electrodes, causing the subject to react in predicable ways: moving his arm, yelling loudly, and so on. These artificial inputs mirror exactly the natural functioning of the brain. Imagine then if the scientist simulates pain, evoking the appropriate physiological responses, but hears no reports of pain from the subject. For pain to exist, we might conclude, there is a necessary condition that there be first ­-hand, phenomenal experience of such. Even though the physiological responses to pain appear, there is still the lack of subjectivity, which proves necessary for the ontic existence of pain. Nagel uses the term â€Å"subjective character of experience† to denote the thought that a point-of-view is essentially a set the sum of a thing’s subjective phenomena. The notion of the subjective character of experience suggests, according to Nagel, that some kinds of facts, namely the means by which mental states arise from physical ones, are outside of the realm of human experience and thus unknowable. A bat, for instance, perceives its environment entirely different from how a human being would and given that there is something that the bat subjectively experiences there seems to be some ontological closure for the human mind to some facts. The bat forms a particularly effective tool for Nagel to illustrate his claim insofar as that species employs a sensory device of sonar, which is a radically different from man’s means of perception. While any conscious animal would do, the bat’s sensory tools are clearly different in every respect of its operation from sight or any of the other human senses. While clearly conscious, the bat has its own very

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