Javascript Menu by
MindPapers is now part of PhilPapers: online research in philosophy, a new service with many more features.
 Compiled by David Chalmers (Editor) & David Bourget (Assistant Editor), Australian National University. Submit an entry.
click here for help on how to search

1.2a. What is it Like? (What is it Like? on PhilPapers)

See also:
Akins, Kathleen (1993). A bat without qualities? In Martin Davies & Glyn W. Humphreys (eds.), Consciousness: Psychological and Philosophical Essays. Blackwell.   (Cited by 24 | Annotation | Google)
Akins, Kathleen (1993). What is it like to be Boring and myopic? In B. Dahlbom (ed.), Dennett and His Critics. Blackwell.   (Cited by 22 | Annotation | Google)
Alter, Torin (2002). Nagel on imagination and physicalism. Journal of Philosophical Research 27:143-58.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Abstract: In "What is it Like to be a Bat?" Thomas Nagel argues that we cannot imagine what it is like to be a bat or presently understand how physicalism might be true. Both arguments have been seriously misunderstood. I defend them against various objections, point out a problem with the argument against physicalism, and show how the problem can be solved
Beisecker, David (2005). Phenomenal consciousness, sense impressions, and the logic of 'what it's like'. In Ralph D. (Ed) Ellis & Natika (Ed). Newton (eds.), Consciousness & Emotion: Agency, Conscious Choice, and Selective Perception. John Benjamins.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Blackmore, Susan J. (2003). What is it like to be...? In Susan J. Blackmore (ed.), Consciousness: An Introduction. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
BonJour, Laurence A. (ms). What is it like to be human (instead of a bat).   (Google)
Abstract: My purpose in this paper is to discuss and defend an objection to physicalist or materialist accounts of the mind
Evnine, Simon J. (2008). Kinds and conscious experience: Is there anything that it is like to be something? Metaphilosophy 39 (2):185–202.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In this article I distinguish the notion of there being something it is like to be a certain kind of creature from that of there being something it is like to have a certain kind of experience. Work on consciousness has typically dealt with the latter while employing the language of the former. I propose several ways of analyzing what it is like to be a certain kind of creature and find problems with them all. The upshot is that even if there is something it is like to have certain kinds of experience, it does not follow that there is anything it is like to be a certain kind of creature. Skepticism about the existence of something that it is like to be an F is recommended
Flanagan, Owen J. (1985). Consciousness, naturalism and Nagel. Journal of Mind and Behavior 6:373-90.   (Cited by 2 | Annotation | Google)
Foss, Jeffrey E. (1989). On the logic of what it is like to be a conscious subject. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 67 (June):305-320.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Hacker, P. M. S. (2002). Is there anything it is like to be a bat? Philosophy 77 (300):157-174.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The concept of consciousness has been the source of much philosophical, cognitive scientific and neuroscientific discussion for the past two decades. Many scientists, as well as philosophers, argue that at the moment we are almost completely in the dark about the nature of consciousness. Stuart Sutherland, in a much quoted remark, wrote that
Hanna, Patricia (1992). If you can't talk about it, you can't talk about it: A response to H.o. Mounce. Philosophical Investigations 15 (2):185-190.   (Google)
Hanna, Patricia (1990). Must thinking bats be conscious? Philosophical Investigations 13 (October):350-55.   (Google)
Harmon, Justin L. (2009). What Is It Like to Be Mysterious, Alienated, and Wildly Rich through Less Than Savory Means? Phenomenal Consciousness and Aesthetic Experience. Consciousness, Literature, and the Arts 10 (2).   (Google)
Hellie, Benj (2004). Inexpressible truths and the allure of the knowledge argument. In Yujin Nagasawa, Peter Ludlow & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), There's Something About Mary. The Mit Press.   (Google)
Abstract: I argue on linguistic grounds that when Mary comes to know what it's like to see a red thing, she comes to know a certain inexpressible truth about the character of her own experience. This affords a "no concept" reply to the knowledge argument. The reason the Knowledge Argument has proven so intractable may be that we believe that an inexpressible concept and an expressible concept cannot have the same referent.
Hellie, Benj (2007). 'There's something it's like' and the structure of consciousness. Philosophical Review 116 (3):441--63.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: I discuss the meaning of 'There's something e is like', in the context of a reply to Eric Lormand's 'The explanatory stopgap'. I argue that Lormand is wrong to think it has a specially perceptual meaning. Rather, it has one of at least four candidate meanings: (a) e is some way as regards its subject; (b) e is some way and e's being that way is in the possession of its subject; (c) e is some way in the awareness of its subject; (d) e's subject is the "experiencer" of e. I provide additional argumentation for the view in this paper that in the context, 'like this' functions as a predicate variable.
Hill, Christopher S. (1977). Of bats, brains, and minds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 38 (September):100-106.   (Google | More links)
Kulvicki, John (2007). What is what it's like? Introducing perceptual modes of presentation. Synthese 156 (2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The central claim of this paper is that what it is like to see green or any other perceptible property is just the perceptual mode of presentation of that property. Perceptual modes of presentation are important because they help resolve a tension in current work on consciousness. Philosophers are pulled by three mutually inconsistent theses: representational externalism, representationalism, and phenomenal internalism. I throw my hat in with defenders of the first two: the externalist representationalists. We are faced with the problem of explaining away intuitions that favor phenomenal internalism. Perceptual modes of presentation account for what it is like to see properties in a way that accommodates those intuitions without vindicating phenomenal internalism itself. Perceptual MoPs therefore provide a new way of being an externalist representationalist
Lewis, David (1983). Postscript to "mad pain and Martian pain". Philosophical Papers 12:122-133.   (Cited by 23 | Annotation | Google)
Lormand, Eric (2004). The explanatory stopgap. Philosophical Review 113 (3):303-57.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Is there an explanatory gap between raw feels and raw material? Some philosophers argue, and many other people believe, that scientific explanations of conscious experience cannot be as satisfying as typical scientific explanations elsewhere, even in our wildest dreams. The underlying philosophical claims are
Macpherson, Fiona (2006). Ambiguous figures and the content of experience. Noûs 40 (1):82-117.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Representationalism is the position that the phenomenal character of an experience is either identical with, or supervenes on, the content of that experience. Many representationalists hold that the relevant content of experience is nonconceptual. I propose a counter-example to this form of representationalism that arises from the phenomenon of Gestalt switching, which occurs when viewing ambiguous figures. First, I argue that one does not need to appeal to the conceptual content of experience or to judge- ments to account for Gestalt switching. I then argue that experiences of certain ambiguous figures are problematic because they have different phenomenal characters but that no difference in the nonconceptual content of these experiences can be identified. I consider three solutions to this problem that have been proposed by both philosophers and psychologists and conclude that none can account for all the ambiguous figures that pose the problem. I conclude that the onus is on representationalists to specify the relevant difference in content or to abandon their position
Macpherson, Fiona (2000). Representational Theories of Phenomenal Character. Dissertation, University of Stirling   (Google | More links)
Maloney, J. Christopher (1986). About being a bat. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 64 (March):26-49.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Malatesti, Luca (2004). Knowing what it is like and knowing how. In Alberto Peruzzi (ed.), Mind and Causality. John Benjamins.   (Google)
McCulloch, Gregory (1988). What it is like. Philosophical Quarterly 38 (January):1-19.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google | More links)
McMullen, C. (1985). 'Knowing what it's like' and the essential indexical. Philosophical Studies 48 (September):211-33.   (Cited by 12 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Medina, Jeffrey A. (2002). What it's like and why: Subjective qualia explained as objective phenomena. [Journal (on-Line/Unpaginated)] 12:12.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Notably spurred into the philosophical forefront by Thomas Nagel's 'What Is It Like To Be a Bat?' decades ago, and since maintained by a number of advocates of dualism since that critical publication, is the assertion that our inability to know 'what it's like' to be someone or something else is inexplicable given physicalism. Contrary to this well-known and central objection, I find that a consistent and exhaustive physicalism is readily conceivable. I develop one such theory and demonstrate that not only is it consistent with the private and varied nature of subjective experience, it, in fact, entails it
Mellor, D. H. (1993). Nothing like experience. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 63:1-16.   (Cited by 14 | Annotation | Google)
Nagasawa, Yujin (2003). Thomas versus Thomas: A new approach to Nagel's bat argument. Inquiry 46 (3):377-395.   (Google | More links)
Nagel, Thomas (1974). What is it like to be a bat? Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.   (Cited by 1354 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Nelkin, Norton (1987). What is it like to be a person? Mind and Language 2:220-41.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Nemirow, Laurence (1990). Physicalism and the cognitive role of acquaintance. In William G. Lycan (ed.), Mind and Cognition. Blackwell.   (Cited by 55 | Annotation | Google)
Nemirow, Laurence (1980). Review of Nagel's mortal questions. Philosophical Review 89:473-7.   (Cited by 6 | Annotation | Google)
Pugmire, David R. (1989). Bat or Batman. Philosophy 64 (April):207-17.   (Annotation | Google)
Rowlatt, Penelope (2009). Consciousness and Memory. Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (5):68-78.   (Google)
Abstract: Defining consciousness along the lines of Nagel, an organism has consciousness iff there is something it is like to be that organism, I relate three types of consciousness (phenomenal, access and reflexive) to the three types of short-term memory (sensory memories, short-term working memory and the central executive). The suggestion is that these short-term memory stores may be a key feature of consciousness.
Rudd, Anthony J. (1999). What it's like and what's really wrong with physicalism: A Wittgensteinian perspective. Journal of Consciousness Studies 5 (4):454-63.   (Google)
Russow, L. (1982). It's not like that to be a bat. Behaviorism 10:55-63.   (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google)
Simoni-Wastila, Henry (2000). Particularity and consciousness: Wittgenstein and Nagel on privacy, beetles and bats. Philosophy Today 44 (4):415-425.   (Google)
Spencer, Cara (ms). Indexical Knowledge and Phenomenal Knowledge.   (Google)
Abstract: A familiar story about phenomenal knowledge likens it to indexical knowledge, i.e. knowledge about oneself typically expressed with sentences containing indexicals or demonstratives. The popularity of this sort of story owes in part to its promise of resolving some longstanding puzzles about phenomenal knowledge. One such puzzle arises from the compelling arguments that we can have full objective knowledge of the world while lacking some phenomenal knowledge. I argue that the widespread optimism about the indexical account on this score is unwarranted.
Teller, Paul R. (1992). Subjectivity and knowing what it's like. In Ansgar Beckermann, Hans Flohr & Jaegwon Kim (eds.), Emergence or Reduction?: Prospects for Nonreductive Physicalism. De Gruyter.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Tilghman, B. R. (1991). What is it like to be an aardvark? Philosophy 66 (July):325-38.   (Cited by 1 | Annotation | Google)
Wider, Kathleen (1989). Overtones of solipsism in Nagel's 'what is it like to be a bat?' And 'the view from nowhere'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49:481-99.   (Annotation | Google)
Wright, Edmond L. (1996). What it isn't like. American Philosophical Quarterly 33 (1):23-42.   (Cited by 4 | Google)