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If what happens in your experience is inside your mind in a way in which what happens in your brain is not, it looks as though your experiences and other mental states can't just be physical states of your brain.

[Thomas Nagel, What does it all mean, p30]

I have some questions to ask

  1. Which is the main verb in the bolded sentence?
  2. Is my rewrite correct!? Does my rewrite have the same meaning as the bolded sentence?

"If your perceptions are experienced within consciousness, and not the way the processes in your brain are going on"

Thank you!

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  • Well evidently clarity wasn't a priority in this particular sentence. The meaning is a little convoluted, but the main verb is the first "is".
    – Neil
    Feb 9, 2018 at 11:45

1 Answer 1

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The bolded passage is not a sentence, but a clause governed by the "if". But the verb in that clause is is (inside your mind), and I agree more or less with your interpretation.

But the is not is saying something a little stronger than your paraphrase: it says that what happens in your brain is not in your mind.

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  • So, what does "in a way" mean!?
    – XVI
    May 15, 2018 at 10:34
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    In a way is a bit vague. Something like "in a sense" or "in a manner", or even "to a degree".
    – Colin Fine
    May 15, 2018 at 11:25
  • "happens in a way" or "is inside your mind in a way"? Thanks!
    – XVI
    Jun 19, 2018 at 1:11
  • "is inside your mind in a way which ... "
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 19, 2018 at 17:02
  • I apologize for bothering you again, after reading it several times, I think of three explanations for the if clause: - First, the experiences happen in the mind is not the same as what happens in the brain. and - Second, both what happens in your experience and what happens in your brain are inside your mind, but in a different way and - Third, what happens in your experience is inside your mind in a way, and what happens in your brain is not that way. Which is correct? Thanks!
    – XVI
    Jul 1, 2018 at 12:33

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