Journal 1

Femi Hollinger

Professor Sloan

English W131

31 August 2012

Journal 1

            Thomas Nagel’s excerpt, “ What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”  was very insightful. From this reading I was able to take away no matter how hard we try we cannot know everything. We may have all the scientific gadgets but we still will never fully understand what it is like to be a bat, or any other creature. We as Americans think we can do everything, and Nagel proves us wrong that we can’t do anything, there are always limits in science and research excursions.

            The beginning of the article was very confusing to me because, Nagel used a lot of scientific words, which I have never heard before, such as reductionist, and psychophysical. Someone who does not know a thing about science would have no idea what Nagel is trying to convey. At the beginning there is no mention of bats so it was a little hard to get into the reading at first. As the story progressed I was able to connect to it more because I knew the words that were being used such as sonar, and echolocation.

            I found it to be very interesting that Nagel compared humans to bats. I never knew that bats had many of the same internal organs, and similarities to us as humans. A creature that is very small, sleeps hanging upside down, and can’t see is similar to a human; I found that to be very interesting. Nagel explains that we think since we may be so similar to bats we should be able to understand everything about that, but that is not the case. We will never fully know what it is like to be a bat unless we were to be a bat.

            This article was able to prove a lot, that no matter how badly we want to know something, we may never fully know about that thing. Nagel states, “ We cannot form more than a schematic conception of what it is like” (439). I found that saying to be very true and enlightening. That statement said to me that it is okay if you don’t know everything because it is almost impossible to know everything. We as humans only know a little aspect of our surroundings, even thought we think we know it all. 


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