Subjectivity in a Biological Perspective
In his seminal paper, entitled “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” (1974), Thomas Nagel argued that we cannot know what it is like to be a bat because such an animal, due to its use of echolocation, has a very different sensory perspective on the world than a human being. Hence, his conclusion was that our experiences contain some essentially subjective feature that, in principle, is unexplainable by any objective scientific theory. Commonly, these subjective features are called “qualia.” However, it is argued that sensory qualities, considered as qualia or subjective feelings of our experiences, do not exist. In contrast, the suggestion is that sensory experiences present us with qualitative properties, but that such properties neither belong to the experiences themselves nor to the unexperienced object but instead to the experienced object.