Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Bat example, philosophy: (Literature Th Nagel, What is it like to be a bat, Philosophical Review 83 (October). 435-50 (1974).) While most people believe to be able to imagine how it would be for them to be a bat, according to Nagel this is not the point. The problem is that we cannot imagine what it is like for a bat to be a bat. See also subjectivity, objectivity, privileged access, introspection, imagination.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
I 236
Bat Example/Nagel/Chalmers: equipped with the approach of Crick and Koch, we may get even more insight into how it is to be a bat. Functional organization can tell us something about the kind of information a bat has access to. The distinctions which it is capable of making, and thus also classifications of the most prominent things in its field of perception.
Bat/Chalmers: this of course shows nothing about the intrinsic nature of the experiences of bats, but Akins (1993) (1) can add something to this.
Chalmers: Cheney/Seyfarth (1990) (2) How Monkeys See the World tries to answer such questions about bats by puting us into the mind of other species.
I 295
Bat Example/Chalmers: Why should not we suppose there is a way for a thermostat of "How it is to be a thermostat"?
I 296
Such an "experience" could occur like a lightning and completely without concept.
I 298
For the thermostat, there is a canonical information space, and so we can say he has the canonical experiences of a thermostat.
I 299
The experiences of a thermostat can be called proto-phanomenal.

1. K. Akins, What is it like to be boring and myopic? In B. Dahlbom (ed) Dennett and His Critics, Oxford 1993.
2. D. L. Cheney and R. M. Seyfarth, How Monkeys See the World, Chicago 1990.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Cha I
D. Chalmers
The Conscious Mind Oxford New York 1996

Cha II
D. Chalmers
Constructing the World Oxford 2014

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-06-25
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