philosophy one page essay

In her essay, “Could Love Be Like a Heatwave” Janet Levin argues against the views of people like Thomas Nagel in “What is it like to Be a Bat” and David Chalmers in “The Mystery of Consciousness.” She argues that “what it is like”, for example to see red or fell pain does not require having experience of such sensations, qualitative states of consciousness it does not require an ability to recognize such experiences as of a particular kind. Mere theoretical, factual or conceptual knowledge is, she argues sufficient to know what it is like to have such experiences/mental states. She allows that experience is helpful, even special(p.259) but not necessary. “What makes it special, however, is not that the experience contributes a chunk of knowledge that could not be acquired in some other way, but that it contributes such knowledge as it does so efficiently (p.259).” Levin makes here argument by appeal to examples: a blind person who can learn what visual size and shape are by appeal to what (facts, theories, concepts) they know about tactile size and shape; aliens that have no, but want, understanding of what it is like for us to feel pain; as well as Nagel’s example of what it is like to be a bat and Chalmers’ use of an example of Mary super-scientist who knows everything there is to know about red but has never experienced it.

Try to spell out more (more than is already described above) of Levin’s argument. Having spelled out her argument a bit more consider the brief article “Scientists Have Found a Woman Whose Eyes Have a Whole New Type of Colour Receptor” . What evidence does it provide for Levin on the one hand, or Chalmers and Nagel on the other?

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