To explore this question, it is crucial to define consciousness or a conscious experience, more to the point, does it even exist?
In this paper I will mention the standard view about consciousness and the nature of conscious experiences that I can summate from Nagel’s “What it is like to be bat?” argument and Jackson’s knowledge argument in “Epiphenomenal Qualia.”
The local worldview interprets that consciousness is basically a state of awareness of a person’s surroundings and sensations. Rather one’s own existence. Howbeit, if we adhere to this definition, all life could be contemplated as conscious. Plants are ‘aware’ of the direction of the sun, animals are ‘aware’ if they’re ...view middle of the document...
He constructs the argument by considering Mary to be a “brilliant”(Jackson, 1982) scientist who in the sometime future where all physical qualities and facts are discovered. In the thought experiment she specializes in “neurophysiology of vision” which has allowed her to have all complete physical knowledge of visual perception. She pursues the same while being in a black and white environment and watching the world on a monochromatic television monitor making her devoid of any colour experience. Now even if she knows about the physical structure and activity of the brain when the eye sees colour, there is still something missing. Something she does not know and couldn’t even imagine since she had never hasn’t experienced it and can only happen when she leaves the black and white room to experience the colourful world herself. When she does leave, the phenomenal qualities and the internal sense she experiences cannot certainly be captured by definite set of physical descriptions of the neurological activities. She learns and experiences something new . “It is inescapable that her previous knowledge was incomplete. But she had all the physical information, ergo, there is more to have than that and physicalism is false” (Jackson, 1982). This shows that reducing the information to various scientific bi-parts failed to give a positive answer for consciousness and surely doesn’t understand the internal sensations had by Mary.
Further, speaking about consciousness in terms of Mary, let us assume that when she leaves the room the first thing she becomes aware of is a bright yellow sunflower. Now we know that the sunflower is definitely a physical substance. The pressing point is not that but the fact she is conscious of its existence and the internal experience of seeing yellow is new which is not physical.
This brings us back to Thomas Nagel’s argument where he also effectively portrays how reductionism is all about the objective perspective just how Jackson just portrayed. Nagel also clearly identifies that in order to understand another being’s experience, we must hypothetically project ourselves into their conscious state or point of view. Therefore “something that it is like to be that organism- something is it is like for the organism” (Nagel 1974, p. 436). He gives an example of bats (Nagel 1974, p. 438) who he assumes, being mammals, have some experience and are more similar to us than any other species. Nevertheless, their behavior and sensory systems by which they perceive the world is so different from ours.
While I can try to imagine myself experiencing what the bat might feel or experience while it functions and perceives the world by echolocation, I cant possibly posses or imagine a...