“What is it like to be a bat?” Thomas Nagel argues against material reductionism by bringing int the aspect of “what it is like to be” a given type of being. Explain in depth the example that he uses that gives the paper its title as well as what it purports to show.

Seminar
Instructions: Choose one prompt from each section. Answer all parts of the prompt you choose. Make clear which prompt you are responding to.
Pt. 1
1. In the first reading for the semester, “What is it like to be a bat?” Thomas Nagel argues against material reductionism by bringing int the aspect of “what it is like to be” a given type of
being. Explain in depth the example that he uses that gives the paper its title as well as what it purports to show. Further, explain the implications that he suggests this has for knowledge in general. Is he right about these implications? What about regarding our own ability to truly understand what it is like to be
another creature? Are there any criticisms that might be made regarding his example or arguments? Do these affect the strength of his argument? Are you convinced?

Pt. 2 4. Descartes in his “Meditations” aims to rebuild philosophy from the bottom up, stripping down every bit of received wisdom so that he can then proceed with a solid foundation. Explain how he
does this and the foundation that he finds at the end, as well as the proof that he gives for this foundation. Of course, Descartes cannot leave it at this so attempts to rebuild the world. How does
he ensure the reality of the external world? Does this reason make sense given his context? Is it a satisfying reason? (note, these are very different questions). Is there any other way he might have gotten out of his conundrum? Finally, leaving aside the adequacy of his solution, is there any way we can avoid dealing with the skepticism that Descartes confronts here? Why or why not?

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