Thursday, January 15, 2015

What It's Like to be a Bat

Nagel’s persistent tendency to generate headaches for philosophical naturalists began with his essay “What Is it Like to Be a Bat?” in 1974. In that essay he argues that any third-person perspective on a person, such as might be provided by natural science, invariably leaves out the first-person perspective of that person.  This is an argument that was prefigured in C. S. Lewis’s essay “Meditation in a Toolshed,” in which he distinguished between “looking at” and “looking along,” and claimed that a systematic preference of “looking at” as opposed to “looking along,” breaks down when it comes to considering our own thinking, and consistently applied it would give us nothing to think about. 

No comments: