One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Coetzee and Kurtz @ Bucks

Still dark when I got to Bucks. The sun was rising when I left. Mostly bikers crossing @ 7th and Park; started seeing runners near the Colorado Lagoon and then Marine Stadium. Anyway . . .

*

Excerpt  from The Good Story (Coetzee is speaking/writing):

I relate our whole discussion to an essay by the philosopher Thomas Nagel that has acquired near scriptural status, called  'What is it like to be a bat?' Nagel's crucial move is to distinguish between two forms of the question: What would it be like for a human to be a bat? and What is it like for a bat to be a bat? In its first form, he says, the question is answerable; in the second form it is not.
     I disagree with Nagel. I think that by a strenuous effort of sympathetic projection one can reach a flickering intuition of what it is like for a bat to be a bat. But this does not amount to the claim that one can have intuitions of what it is really like for a bat to be a bat. In Nagel's terms, the only true, real knowledge one can have of what it is like to be anyone or anything in the world is a form of knowledge of what it is like to be oneself. Other such knowledge may be true, but its truth is the truth of fictions. This includes knowledge of what it is like for a neonate to be a neonate.

Post a Comment