The Mind Is A Bat, By Thomas Nagel Essay

The Mind Is A Bat, By Thomas Nagel Essay

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In today’s society, the mind is a set of cognitive elements which enables an individual’s consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, and memory. In addition, without our minds and/or conscious experiences, a person would not be able to understand what makes them who they are. Similarly, in Thomas Nagel’s essay “What Is It Like to Be a Bat,” Nagel claims that even though there is something it is like to be an organism, humans are not capable of fully knowing what it is like to be a bat. In addition, Nagel supports his claims through the importance of an organism’s conscious experiences, memories, and knowledge which allow an individual to identify themselves. Therefore, in this paper I will discuss Nagel’s argument which I believe to be true based on the idea that human beings do not have the ability to understand and/or know what it is like to be another organism without having the same conscious experiences as one another.
In Thomas Nagel’s essay, he emphasizes that one is incapable of knowing what it’s like to be a bat unless they are able to look through the eyes of another being and recognize what it is like to be them. Unfortunately, this is impossible to achieve for any living organism. However, Nagel also states that even though we cannot conceive that it is like for a bat to be a bat, this does not eliminate the idea of there being something of which it is like to be a bat. Which is also referred to as the subjective character of experience. With this being said, there is something it is like to be a bat based on how bats perceive the external world and/or are conscious beings. For example, although bats experience echolocation and sonar which are two forms of perceptions in which a human is incapable off, a...


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... of being me, is myself and no one else.
Overall, to distinguish what it is like to be another organism, one must know the conscious experiences of another and/or have the same points of views. Thus, the idea of a human experiencing what it is like for a bat to be a bat or for one person to be that person, Nagel claims that it is impossible. Therefore, recalling back to a previous example, if a blind man or a normal individual tried to understand what it is like for them to be one another, it is impossible. Reasons being that both men perceive and understand their sense of vision differently; one has the ability to use their sense of vision, while the other does not. Thus, relating back to Nagel’s argument, without one’s conscious experiences being the same as another’s, one cannot truthfully know what it is like to be another organism except for themselves.

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