LS Re: Explain the subject-object metaphysics

Brett Wood (
Thu, 30 Apr 1998 04:13:00 +0100

Tricia wrote:

>How can we be so sure that a bird doesn't know its a bird. It may not
>have the concept of "bird", as distinct from say, lizard, fish or cat -
>these are human concepts with which we categorize and describe the world
>around us, but how can we be so sure that these creatures are not aware
>of themselves in some way? I am not being flippant with this question,
>just genuinely curious as to how we can know this for certain...

This reminds me of an article by Thomas Nagel called "What is it like to
be a bat?", which has particular relevance to SOM. In this article
(which I read in a book called "The Mind's I", a collection of essays
about the nature of self compiled by Douglas Hofstadter; I highly
recommend it), the author wonders if there is an objective "thing" which
it is like to be a bat, an objective "bat-ness", if you will. When we
try to imagine such bat-ness, we can do no more than imagine,
subjectively, what it might be like for us to be a bat. We can imagine
having wings and flying out at night hunting for insects, but we are
always thinking about "what if _I_ was a bat?", not "what is it like for
a bat to be?". The distinction is subtle but profound. To me, this
issue calls into doubt the very idea of an objective observer, and thus
the fundamental validity
of SOM.

post message -
unsubscribe/queries -
homepage -

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu May 13 1999 - 16:43:06 CEST