Subjective character of experience  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The subjective character of experience is a term in psychology and the philosophy of mind denoting that all subjective phenomena are associated with a single point of view ("ego"). The term was coined and illuminated by Thomas Nagel in his famous paper What Is it Like to Be a Bat?

Nagel argues that, because bats are apparently conscious mammals with a way of perceiving their environment entirely different from that of human beings, it is possible to speak of "what is like to be a bat for the bat" or, while the example of the bat is particularly illustrative, any conscious species, as each organism has a unique point of view from which no other organism can gather experience. To Nagel the subjective character of experience implies the cognitive closure of the human mind to some facts, specifically the mental states that physical states create.

Subjective reality

The subjectivity of perception of reality implies that perception of all of the things, concepts, and "truths" in the universe differ between individuals: we all live in different worlds, each of which may have things in common, because of our unique perspectives on our worlds. The only thing to which one can hold oneself is something one has experienced or perceived. Until someone has had an experience of something the object or concept within itself is not real. Someone in Africa is aware of the existence of fire and sees it but for an Eskimo who has never seen fire before the fire does not exist in the same way. So, if we could all know god from the same standpoint then we would all agree while, as it is, there are different perspectives and interpretations of different events and philosophies. The idea of the subjectivity of reality also hints at an aspect of moral relativism, that each person's opinions are the only things they can hold themselves to.

Dual-subjective reality

A dual-subjective reality arises when an individual's mind interrupts information and, instead of creating only one interpretation that the conscious mind can make sense of, creates several. These differing "realities" then cause conflict in that individual who may confuse what is actually happening around them with alternative realities formulated in their mind.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Subjective character of experience" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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