Can we solve the mind-body problem? Is a book that was written by McGinn in 1989. The argument in the book is that people cannot find solutions to their mind-body problems because they are cognitively shuttered with respect to the solution to the problem. This means that whereas there is an answer to the challenge, human beings are not allowed to access the answer because of the unique cognitive disadvantage that people possess. Besides, McGinn also denies openly that his argument involves anything that is paranormal, for example, the being of God; because McGinn thinks that, there are feasible living things with distinct cognitive aptitude from human beings that have the ability of accessing the solution. This is a different perspective of mind-body problem as it is brought out by Swinburne whose argument is likely to motivate dualism in general although it does not inspire substance dualism in precise. This argument attempts to show that only the mental occasions are not completely appropriate using physical terms. It is clear that many possessions dualists, whose policy and principles are not consistent with the substance of dualism as brought out by Swinburne.
As you can see, this idea is very different from McGinn’s because first, there is no essence of supernatural being, as in, God as McGinn put it in his argument. The argument also does not give a clear implication of the mind-body problem (McGinn, 1989). Of course, Swinburne may be right to argue that the physical sciences cannot give appropriate description of the interaction between the mental and the physical however, this alleged fact does not instantly give an appeal to the notion of a divine personal creator of the universe. It is clearly that there is a natural explanation for this concept but not the scientific explanation. Therefore, the point that Swinburne attempted to bring out was not supported well because he tried to support it with scientific evidence that has no prove. Hence, as McGinn puts it, the concept of supernatural being is the only prove for the existence of the solution to the mind-body problem. In fact, how can a Technicolor phenomenology crop up from soggy grey matter? What makes the organ called the brain very distinct from the other bodily organs like say the liver, the kidney and all the other body parts without a dash of consciousness? The truth is that human beings have consciousness, which originates from our brains and the only person who can explain how this happens is God.
The constructive form of the attempt to explain the concept attempts to denote some natural property of the brain or the body, which describes how consciousness can be depicted from it thus being functionalism in a way that it proposes a property called causal role that is detained to be contented by both the brain and mental states. Therefore, this property is liable of describing how consciousness states can come from the brain states. However, in order to get the precise solution to this problem, there must be a supernatural entities or divine intervention invoked (McGinn, 1989). Hence, we have the Cartesian dualism and Leibnizian pre-established harmony. These answers at least acknowledge that something somehow significant is required if the mind-body relation is to be made substantial because they are as extreme as the problem. Therefore, the best approach that was considered by McGinn in finding the solution was naturalistic and not constructive. This is because he believed there would not be any specification about the brain that is responsible for consciousness.
Therefore, it is a fact to state that the brain, which is an organ of the body, is responsible for consciousness that enables people to do extra ordinary things and that it cannot be explained by any scientific description but by the supernatural being that created it. This was the suggestion of McGinn and I greatly agree with this concept because the research on human organs has been extensively studied and many things discovered but the brain has proved to be difficult to explain. However, some problems occur because there are some people who criticize this idea and attempt to support the scientific aspects just as Swinburne did.
What is it like to be a Bat?
Nagel on the other hand attempted to compare human beings with the bats where he explains that ‘what it’s like’ is strictly not expressible in terms of objects. In short, the book is not comparing the bat to other objects since the term ‘what it’s like’ means human being and not objects, thus, the book clearly compares bats to human beings and thus proving his theory. Nevertheless, he does not compare human beings to bats, but to the characteristics of the bats. Nagel proves to people that he can indeed employ the use of rhetorical element that is highly implemented in the book (Nagel, 1974). The bats have traditional characteristics of being a bit strange and it is believed that some of the bats have a sense individuals do not echolocation. This means that there are some people who cannot different other things in them. However, if Nagel is right then it should be clear that it might be hard to see things from that point of view of an identical twin. Therefore, as people state, Nagel might be wrong to employ that comparison but let us leave this point lugging.
Nagel was free to use any examples he wished. He described that he selected the bats because they are very close to human beings thus leaving numerous people with a clear implication that they have conscious experiences of some kind and deflects people from dramatizing his case. However, you may or may not like it but the concept raises some significant issues. The argument is that if Nagel is right, then there are some experiences that the bats go through that human can never have. Therefore there are some true reality information about these experiences that human being can never understand although they may assume that there must be facts of this kind (Nagel, 1974). The point I am trying to drive home is that human beings have limited knowledge concerning the creatures of God meaning that they cannot explain certain concepts in life about themselves or other creates in nature.
As you can see, this point is exactly what is brought up by Colin McGinn in his inspirational book ‘Can We Solve The Mind-Body Problem?’ in the book, McGinn explains his wider theory that even human consciousness is actually beyond people’s understanding (McGinn, 1989). Therefore, the two books are similar in two main ways; they both talk about human beings and some things that are beyond them and they also talk about the human consciousness that can be best explained by the supernatural being; God.
Of course, human beings are by descriptions not bats and they therefore cannot have the experience of being a bat. As people argue, this fact does not prove that there are truths about the experiences of the bats that people cannot understand (Nagel, 1974). Individuals can definitely understand what sizes of objects echolocation discovers, and how the bat shows straightened ears towards the stream of sound, and many other facts of that type. People can discover all about the types of information the senses of the bats supply and through using the right techniques and equipments, they can identify the echolocations all by themselves at least substitution and approximation. That is very true, in fact, I support the point because these people know they cannot know all things concerning the bats but they can approximate some. This means that although they disagree with Nagel’s point, to some extent they agree with it that they cannot fully explain everything concerning the bats using their own human consciousness (Nagel, 1974).
The criticisms also disagree with Nagel when he states that even when people imagine themselves become bats, they cannot be any good. They are only imagining what it would be like for them to be bats, but they need to imagine what it is like for a bat. The only thing these criticisms support about Nagel is when he says that his argument does not show the physicalists to be false. He concludes by stating that these physicalisms have some truths when they suggest that mental entities are physical entities, is a hypothesis that cannot be well understood. It is in this conclusion that we truly see how Nagel’s book blends with McGinn’s book. Indeed, the mental entities are not physical entities and however states that they are then he is just giving a hypothesis of what he thinks it may be but in real sense, he or she has no prove of it (McGinn, 1989). This is exactly what McGinn proves when he says that the mental-body problem can best be explained by the supernatural being but not by scientific explanations.
What Mary Didn’t Know
What Mary Didn’t Know is another fantastic book written by Frank Jackson. In this book, Jackson ultimately targets to verify through an experiment concerning Mary who is a hypothetical scientist that consciousness experiences have non-physical properties that he termed as qualia. In the book, Jackson explains that Mary had a full scientific understanding of colors and color visions but she never had any color experience. The point that Jackson was driving home is that through seeing the colors, Mary would learn what it is like to have the color experiences. Therefore, her scientific experience was incomplete because you cannot just have a vision of something without any experience and conclude that you truly understand something. This means that physical view of an object does not mean that you have a complete experience of the object. The best word to use to describe this concept is qualia as termed by Jackson. Mary’s conscious experience had qualia, which refers to the non-physical properties.
When you view this concept keenly, you will notice that it is related to McGinn’s aspect of “Can We Solve The Mind-Body Problem?” and to Nagel’s concept brought out in “What is it like to be a Bat?” (McGinn, 1989)The point brought out by Jackson is that visual has nothing to do with experience. Visual is seeing using the eyes, which are body organs that are much different from the mental, or brain. This is exactly what we see in the other two books, which also attempt to explain that the brain is very different from the other body organs and God is the only person who can explain it. Note that in What Mary Didn’t Know, both a priori and a posteriori physicalists ignore the assertion that Mary was not aware of all the facts but they argue that way for other different reasons. Whereas Jackson thinks that Mary acquired no new experience of any fact, the phyisicalists think that Mary acquires new experience of an old fact. On a wider understanding of what is depicted as physical, it is coherent with physicalisms that Mary is not aware of all the physical facts and that on a slight understanding; it is coherent with the physicalism that Mary is aware of all the physical facts but not all the facts. In either manner, Mary acquires new information of a new fact that is not qualia.
The fact that Mary is aware of all the physical facts regarding the colors does not mean that she knows all the facts about the colors, shows that a person may be familiar with the concepts of several things but not all things. This is also outlined in “Can We Solve The Mind-Body Problem?” where McGinn states that the human beings can be able to discover a lot of things particularly from the scientific point of view but cannot be able to give precise explanations of the brain (McGinn, 1989). The same is depicted in “What is it like to be a Bat?” where Nagel argues that although people may be familiar with the characteristics of the bat, they cannot give a specific explanation of what a bat is like.
In the book, Jackson asked individuals to imagine an omniscient scientist, Mary, who is enclosed in a black- and-white room and then released into the world of color, what will be her view? In an assumption that she is omniscient in showing consideration of all the facts – approximately, all the facts present to physics and all the facts that, determined physicalisms would propose that there is no fact that Mary can identify after being set free. The physicalisms maintain their decision that facts are physical in the pertinent sense. Of course, every would feel that coming out of such a room would be an event of dramatic clarification and precisely an event for understanding facts to do with how red or yellow or green or blue looks like. Therefore, it is true that Jackson was right, Mary was not aware of something and at least he made her know.
Although these three works have received massive criticism, there is no doubt that they clearly portray the concept of the uniqueness of the brain and the concepts of difference between the mind and the body. What the brain can do is much far beyond what the body can do. For example, the brain can move a mountain from one place to another but the body cannot. The mountain in this sense is not a physical mountain but actually a mental mountain where things seems to be impossible and transforming them to wonderful possibilities. The books are inspiring because they discuss very essential human issues that affect a lot of people and that a lot of people are not aware. The major similarities in all the three books is that they all discuss critical issues to do with the mind and our senses, they all talk about the brains and what they are able to do and they all talk about the concept of human consciousness.