I was reading The enigma of human consciousness in ANNALS of the New York Academy of Sciences and this came up:
think it’s very hard to define consciousness in terms of anything more basic than consciousness, just as it’s very hard to define time and space in terms of anything more basic than time and space. But there are things we can which at least I think are helpful. There’s a phrase due to Thomas Nagel, who was mentioned earlier, who wrote the article “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” You might say that a system is conscious when there is something it’s like to be that system—so there is something it’s like to be me; there is something it’s like to be you. But importantly, assuming you’re not a panpsychist, you would say there’s nothing it’s like to be that [points to a cup on the table] cup. So, likewise, a mental state like seeing will be conscious if there’s something it’s like to be in that state; for example, there’s something it’s like for me to see you right now, but there’s nothing it’s like for me to do some computation in my cerebellum.
And I got confused what is the meaning of “there is something that it is like”? then, I started reading the paper of Nagel and found this:
no matter how the form may vary, the fact that an organism has conscious experience at all means, basically, that there is something it is like to be that organism. There may be further implications about the form of the experience; there may even (though I doubt it) be implications about the behavior of the organism. But fundamentally an organism has conscious mental states if and only if there is something that it is like to be that organism- something it is like for the organism. We may call this the subjective character of experience.
So, Can anyone explain to me this part so I can understand it better?