ass 7 - Assignment 7 11-29-10 1. What is Nagel's argument...

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Assignment 7 11-29-10 1. What is Nagel's argument against physicalism? If physicalism is to be accepted, the phenomenological features must themselves be given a physical account. But when we examine their subjective character it seems that such a result is impossible. It is impossible because subjective phenomenon is essentially connected with a single point of view, and it seems inevitable that physical theories will abandon that point of view. To illustrate the connection between subjectivity and a point of view, and to make evident the importance of subjective features, it will help to explore the matter in relation to an example that brings out clearly the divergence between the two types of conception, subjective and objective. Nagel does this by trying to relate how we experience life to how bats experience things. We all believe that bats have experience, they are mammals, and there is no more doubt that they have experience than that mice or pigeons or whales have experience. Nagel choose bats because the farther down the chain the less likely people are to believe that animal has experiences like ours. Even though bats are closely related to us they present a range of activity and a sensory apparatus so different from ours that they exhibit the problems Nagel wants to talk about. Bats perceive the external world primarily by sonar which they produce with their modulated high-frequency shrieks, their brains are designed to correlate the outgoing impulses with the subsequent echoes, and the information thus acquired enables bats to make precise discriminations of distance, size, shape, motion, and texture comparable to those we make by vision. Bat sonar, though clearly a form of perception, is nothing like the senses we possess, and
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ass 7 - Assignment 7 11-29-10 1. What is Nagel's argument...

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