Is it beyond our grasp, even in principle?

Illustration: María Elena (Mani) Hinojosa

In his paper “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”, American philosopher Thomas Nagel argues that humans can’t know what it’s like to be a bat, to experience its conscious mental states. This assumes that bats have a conscious experience beyond mere sensory perception (a reasonable assumption, as they’re mammals). Nagel says that even if we could somehow directly sense the…