In his text “What is it like to be a bat?” of 1974 Thomas Nagel claims that consciousness is the
Nagel then proceeds with his argument by demonstrating why we cannot know ?what it is like to be a bat?. A human has an imagination and could therefore imagine what it would be like to have the characteristics of a bat. However, a human cannot imagine what it is like for a bat to be a bat. Nagel supports this by saying, ?if I try to imagine this, I am restricted to the resources of my own mind, and those resources are inadequate to the task.? (p.536). I agree with Nader on this point. In order for me to experience what it would be like to be a bat I would have to make the actual transformation to a bat and there is no way for me to do that. The only other possible way for this to occur would be by a proper explanation about the mind of a bat but this too
But, in another section of Jackson’s article, he refers back to the famous article What is it Like to Be a Bat?, written by the philosopher Thomas Nagel, to help strengthen his argument against physicalism. Jackson states how there is no amount of physical information that could possibly tell us what it is like to be anything other than a human being (Jackson 416-417). For instance, the dualist would say that I cannot possibly understand what it is like to actually be a dog. Even if I were able to obtain all the possible physical information there is about dogs, according to the dualist, I would still be missing the actual experience of being a dog. However, the physicalist would still argue that, although I am not a dog, I can still know the physical information about what it is like to be a dog and know how they perceive and experience everything in life. Then if, some day, I
“One with a well-developed personality is of course a happy person. As the result of social, physical, financial, and spiritual well-being, happiness is assured.”
For each, be sure and: (1) describe the area of study, (2) discuss the views of at least ONE major thinker associated with that area of study, and (3) explain what that area of study contributed to the attempt to reconcile the mind-body problem.
In Nagel’s What Is It Like To Be a Bat, issues regarding consciousness are raised. One such issue is the mind-body problem which, as noted by Nagel, does not seem to fit with reductionist theories. That is, reductionist theories aim to explain things (e.g. persons and/or animal experiences) in relation to physical processes (i.e. organisms are just the sum of their physical parts). However, consciousness does not easily cooperate with such theories because it must be given a physical account. In addition, the nature of consciousness is that it is unique to a specific viewpoint (e.g. we can imagine what it would be for us to be a bat, but we cannot experience the mindset of said organism).
Per the theory, the mind is about mental processes, thought and consciousness. The body is about the physical aspects of the brain-neurons and how the brain is structured. The mind-body problem is about how these two interact. One of the biggest questions in psychology and philosophy concerns the mind/body problem: If they are distinct, then how do they interact? And which of the two is in charge? Many theories have been put forward to explain the relationship between what we call your mind, so defined as the conscious thinking 'you' which experiences your thoughts or spiritual being and your brain, part of your body. However, the most common explanation concerns the question of whether the mind and body are separate entities or the same thing. While asking and recording my responses for this particular exercise a few came up with the choice number 4 which stated, “Nonphysical things cannot casually interact with physical things “ when comparing it , your mind being able to interact with physical things in general was immediately shut down , that it was not possible, that you cannot casually interact , between the mind and the outside world at a whim, with-out some kind of training to understanding the non-physical things
Consciousness, Thomas Nagel states, “is what makes the mind-body problem really intractable.” Here he refers particularly to phenomenal consciousness, which Block defines as “perceptual experiences,” and Nagel describes as “something that it is to be.’ This experiential element appears to present a challenge to the physicalist assertion that all mental processes are explicable in terms of physical brain states, biochemical reactions and the laws of physics. Frank Jackson presents this argument in his 1982 thesis Epiphenomenal Qualia. Whilst Jackson’s argument occupies a seminal position in philosophy of mind, whether he adds anything new to knowledge of the nature of conscious experience, is debateable. Thomas Nagel’s What is it like to
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. However, he also acknowledged that the apparent clarity of items marked ‘are’ is deceptive. Without a theoretical framework in which these references are understandable, they are still not well defined. We hold in our hands the evidence that brain activity has some physical description. However, we lack the theoretical framework (Nagel, 1998, 3-30).
Nagel discuses a lot about subjective character which he explains as what it’s like to be a specific organism. He believes that there are some experience that are completely beyond human understanding. Nagel states that even if you have an excellent imagination you still wouldn’t know what it’s like to be a bat. He argues that even if you can imagine what it’s like to have webbed arms and feet or hang upside down that doesn’t help you to know how a bat truly experiences its experiences. Each organism has a unique perspective and conscious experience that is only understandable from its own point of view.
is and also who brought the mind and body problem to light. This will be done by
When pondering consciousness, people commonly distinguish between the physical characteristics of neurons firing signals throughout the body and the mental aspects of how being alive actually feels. Furthermore when studying consciousness, the imposing battle between physicalists, people who believe the physical and mental aspects are the same, and dualists, people who believe the physical and mental are two distinct aspects, brings about controversy. In What Is It Like to Be a Bat? Thomas Nagel claims, “it would be a mistake to conclude that physicalism must be false” but then goes on to add, “physicalism is a position we cannot understand because we do not at present have any conception of how it might be true.” Even though the claims appear mutually exclusive and Nagel states that physicalism is incomprehensible, Nagel’s claims are able to be simultaneously true and his conditions for understanding physicalism are improper.
The mind-body problem is a complex argument that permeates through our current understanding of how consciousness functions with a body and the physical world. Two ideologies attempt to explain this phenomena by placing consciousness and the mind’s relationship to the body into two distinct categories. The first, holds that the mind can be explained as a byproduct of the body known as physicalism while the other holds that the mind does not depend on the body which is anti-physicalism. Nagel’s argument in, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”, supports an anti-physicalism understanding of the mind and is successful in displacing physicalism’s explanation of what the mind is and how it functions. Likewise, counterarguments to Nagel’s thesis, are not compelling in that they do not account for “the subjective character of experience” which Nagel argues is an essential mental property of consciousness. Nagel’s argument is substantial in that it demonstrates the inherent limitations of physicalism while asserting an anti-physicalist approach to the mind-body problem.
For centuries philosophers have engaged themselves into conversations and arguments trying to figure out the nature of a human person; this has lead to various theories and speculation about the nature of the human mind and body. The question they are tying to answer is whether a human being is made of only the physical, body and brain, or both the physical or the mental, mind. In this paper I will focus on the mind-body Identity Theory to illustrate that it provides a suitable explanation for the mind and body interaction.
The Science of Mind philosophy is not an abstract spiritual theory, but rather, a study of Consciousness, and, specifically, our expression of It. Ernest Holmes considered this study of Mind to be a science, in that it correlates principles and practices that can be applied and proven to be effective. Even so, the correlation of principles and practices is not what makes the Science of Mind a practical philosophy to live by. Anyone can deduce principles and devise practices that enhance and advance their favorite theory of everything. Every religiously minded group has done just that. Science of Mind distinguishes itself as a practical philosophy because of its teachings on the nature of Law, and its emphasis on the application of the principles of this Law in our life.