What’s it Like to be a Bat – II

Man hears in colour, or “sees” with the sound of music. [report via BBC]. Another variation on the Neuroscience explanations of consciousness – see earlier blogs on Sacks, Zeman and others.

I stand corrected that it is not quite what Nagel’s bat was about. He was being general about the concept of “being like” something as an indication of being conscious, but surely the point of choosing a bat, rather than a giraffe, is because a bat perceives its world, even spatial geometry, topology, motion and texture (colour) through sound. Psychlogically, it surely sees a picture of the world illuminated with sound, in pretty much the identical way that we see the world by the light of … light.

Q. What’s it like to swim if you’re a giraffe ?
A. Problematic, unstable, fatal in fact once out of standing depth. Imagine if your buoyant thorax was so far from your dense head. Bit tricky keeping head above water I think you’ll find.

2 thoughts on “What’s it Like to be a Bat – II”

  1. Nagel’s interest was not in the concept of “being like” (as in “being like” a bat) but rather the concept of “liking be” (as in what is it “like to be” a bat?).
    BTW a giraffe could swim with its head under water as long as it could come up for air occasionally.

  2. Disagree on “liking be” ? As you say, the subject was what it is “like to be” in english “being like”, but this is irrelevant to the point – a bat sees a pcture painted with sound ?

    (Irrelevant, but I didn’t say a giraffe couldn’t swim …. just that is was problematic. and unstable. And it was a joke, I have no idea about the relative density of parts of giraffes.)

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