Does consciousness have a gender?

Does consciousness have a gender?

Consciousness is not a bloodless abstraction

One well-known source for what-it-is-like questions is Thomas Nagel’s classic paper “What is it like to be a bat?”  (Philosophical Review 83.4, October 1974, pp.435-450). Nagel thinks that it is obviously true that there is something it is like to be a bat; there are facts about what it is like to be a bat; bats have consciousness, just as we do. But bats and humans have very different kinds of consciousness. So, for example, echolocation plays for bats roughly the function that sight plays for human beings. But even though they are functionally analogous, it seems obvious that there must be differences between the subjective experiences of seeing and echolocating. It is a fact that bat consciousness is very different from human consciousness, just as it is a fact that bat bodies are very different from human bodies. But how do the facts about consciousness relate to the facts about bodies? Nagel thinks that this is rather a deep philosophical mystery: a mystery that we might also call “the mind-body problem”. On the one hand, we can’t easily explain how if at all the two kinds of fact are connected. On the other hand, neither can we just deny the existence of either kind of fact. The mind-body problem leaves us scratching our heads. Perhaps it even should leave us that way.

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