Frank Jackson () formulates the intuition underlying his Jackson, F., , “Epiphenomenal Qualia”, Philosophical Quarterly The knowledge argument is a philosophical thought experiment proposed by Frank Jackson in his article “Epiphenomenal Qualia” () and extended in ” What. Jackson opens his essay with a definition: “It is undeniable that the physical, chemical and biological sciences have provided a great deal of information about .

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Frank Jackson, Epiphenomenal qualia – PhilPapers

The conclusion of the stronger version of the argument 3b is an ontological claim that the physicalist must reject. There’s Something About Mary: The Ability hypothesis implies that there is some knowledge that can only be acquired by having experiences of a particular kind and that this knowledge is nothing but knowing-how.

Jackson suggests that Mary is simply discovering a new way for her brain to represent qualities that exist in the world. Alter points out that the knowledge argument needs the premise that all physical facts can be learned discursively epiphenommenal argues that this assumption has not been established.

First, if Mary does learn something new, it shows that qualia the epiphenomenwl, qualitative properties of experiences, conceived as wholly independent of behavior and disposition exist. Rather, or so one may argue, Mary and Marianna acquire a particular kind of belief that the sky appears blue to normal perceivers, namely the phenomenal belief that it appears blue to normal perceivers, where phenomenal belief involves the application of the appropriate phenomenal concept.

The debate that emerged following its publication became the subject of an edited volume— There’s Something About Mary —which includes replies from such philosophers as Daniel DennettDavid Lewisand Paul Churchland. Jackson might think that there could be such beings, but only because he already has an argument that qualia are not part of the physicalist account. This is different from other physical objects of knowledge: But then these three kinds of abilities cannot conjointly amount to knowing what it is like either: The Role of Consciousness in Grasping and Understanding.

In other projects Wikimedia Commons. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. There are some facts about human color vision that Mary does not know before her release. Lycan is led to a similar conclusion within his computational theory. Given this information and her extraordinary capacity, Martha has the ability to imagine cherry red, but as long as she does not exercise this ability she does not know what it is like to see cherry red.


Phenomenal blueness, according to his view, has a physical nature and one might expect that physical natures are fully describable in physical terms and fully understandable under a physical conceptualization. Doubters cite various holes in the thought experiment that have arisen through critical examination. Dennett argues that functional knowledge is identical to the experience, with no ineffable ‘qualia’ left over.

Science provides valuable functional information about the functional role of nervous states. Volker Gadenne – – Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 The following remarks by Levin are hard to deny:.

Qualia: The Knowledge Argument

He lacks a specific locating piece of de se knowledge. Jackson offers the following argument against physicalism:.

But he could not possibly know that theses changes would be accompanied by the appearance of a smell in general or of the peculiar smell of ammonia in particular, unless jacson told him so or he had smelled it for himself.

First person thoughts involve the imagination of an experience of the relevant kind. White argues against Loar that the account cannot explain the a posteriori character of mind-brain identity statements in a satisfying manner. Contrary to Mary at a later moment t 2 she gets acquainted with colors by seeing arbitrarily colored epiphnomenal abstract paintings, red chairs, blue tables, etc.

These authors accept the first premise of both versions of the argument and the second premise of the first version as well, but they deny the second premise of the second version and epiphfnomenal that 2a does not imply 2b.

She thus learns something new, her previous knowledge was incomplete.


epiphdnomenal Prospects of Nonreductive PhysicalismA. For example, Evan Thompson questioned quqlia premise that Mary, simply by being confined to a monochromatic environment, would not have any color experiences, since she may be able to see color when dreaming, after epiphemomenal her eyes, or in afterimages from light perception. But Tye has a surprising response: But the facts that make these new items of knowledge true are physical facts that Mary knew before release under another conceptualization.


Quali the thought experiment seems to prove the existence of qualia, a non-physical part of the mind. To avoid the antimaterialist conclusion C3 the physicalist can a object against the inference from P1 to C1 a jacckson of philosophers have chosen this strategy, see Section 4. Retrieved from ” https: However, Jackson objects that Churchland’s formulation is not his intended argument.

In response, Levin argues that a epiphejomenal color experience does in fact yield new factual knowledge, such as “information about the color’s similarities and compatibilities with other colors, and its effect on other of our mental states. A possible and common response is to simply doubt these claims. Chalmers considers responses along the lines of the “ability hypothesis” objection described above to be the most promising objections, but unsuccessful: But, again, the fact that makes the thought true is simply the fact that blue experiences have the particular physical property at issue.

Contrary to this Levin does not see any need to ’embellish’ the original simple demonstrative account. Martha has been told that cherry red is exactly midway between burgundy red and fire red she has experienced these two shades of red, but not cherry.

Knowledge argument

The utmost that he could predict on this subject would be that certain changes would take place in the mucous membrane, the olfactory nerves and so on. The Ability Hypothesis says that knowing what an experience is like just is the possession of these abilities to remember, imagine, and recognize.

A general argument against the materialist strategy to answer objection by appeal to a theory about the special status of phenomenal concepts is developed in Chalmers

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