What is it Like to be a Child? Childness in the Age of Neuroscience
Children's Literature in Education
Springer Science and Business Media LLC
MetadataShow full item record
Nikolajeva, M. (2019). What is it Like to be a Child? Childness in the Age of Neuroscience. Children's Literature in Education, 50 (1), 23-37. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-018-9373-7
The title of this article alludes to the famous work that cognitive studies inevitably return to: “What is it like to be a bat?” by Thomas Nagel (1974). While it is possible to imagine what it might be like to be a bat, for instance, to fly, to hang upside down and to use echolocation, a bat's subjective perception is presumably so different from a human being's that it can never become a shared experience (see also Blackmore 2005, pp. 6-9). We cannot access the consciousness of a bat, or a cat, or a rat; we cannot even be sure that animals have consciousness, or whether some of them do while others don't. In 2012, a group of international scholars adopted The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, stating that all animals are sentient (Bekoff, 2012). While this is doubtless a decisive step for animal rights movement, from a philosophical point of view it is problematic. The most basic definition of consciousness includes the awareness of being sentient: does a bat know that it is a bat? Does a bat understand batness as a distinctive feature of selfhood?
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-018-9373-7
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/283819