(Nagel 2). Thus if a bat does have experiences then there is something it is like to be a bat, or the
“subjective character of experience” (Nagel 2). Embedded within Nagel’s explanations
arepremises that his argument will be constructed upon. First is that (1) an experience is a consciousexperience only if there is something it is like for the subject to have this experience. Secondly,(2) a creature can have conscious experiences only if there something which it is like to be thatcreature. Returning to
Nagel’s question with these premises
in mind will be useful in unearthinghis central argument concerning consciousness.When attempting to explain what it is like to be a bat, we would first turn to ourimagination and picture what it would be like to be able to fly or have sonar and so on. Howeverthis would just be someone imagining what it would be like for them to be a bat, not what it islike for a bat to be a bat. We thus cannot extrapolate the desired knowledge
of a bat’s experience
through these means. Nevertheless we can try to observe the physical structure of the animal andits behavior, allowing us to express what we believe it is like to be a bat, for instance one hasreason to believe that bats sometimes experience fear and hunger under certain conditions andthe appropriate stimuli. Yet this method also falls short since all the experiences we wouldbelieve that bats have are based on observations that are met with an epistemological barrier thatprevents a complete picture from being portrayed. Nagel explains that the experiences of bats
“also have in each case a specific subjective c
haracter, which it is beyond our ability to
conceive” (Nagel 3).
y, the inability to know the subjective character of a bat’sexperience illuminates that “there are facts that do not consist in the truth of propositions
expressible in a human la
nguage” (Nagel 4).
This holds true for anyone of a different
thanthe subject of the experience, since it would be impossible for me to know the experiences of ablind and deaf person and vice versa. The facts of experience are only accessible subjectively;