Analytic Philosophy

Jerry Fodor

How did Thomas Nagel object to functionalism?

Thomas Nagel (1937–), who is not related to Ernest Nagel (1901–1985), became famous for his 1974 article in The Philosophical Review, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” Nagel’s point in that article was that the subjectivity of bats eludes us because of the nature of our objective methods of measuring consciousness. He makes the same point in another way with an example of a person tasting chocolate while a brain surgeon observes the part of his brain that is activated. No amount of such observation will allow the observer to taste the chocolate—not even if he licks the part of the brain in question!

Thomas Nagel criticized reductionist views of the human mind with his famous article “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” (AP).

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