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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She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like “red”, “blue”, and so on. They claim that despite this defect she would know what it is like to have an experience of e.

Qualia: The Knowledge Argument

Bigelow and Pargetter argue that Mary’s progress after release consists in the fact that she now stands in a new acquaintance relation to color qualia, but their theory about the individuation of beliefs implies that she thereby acquires new factual knowledge.

Jackson seems to find the modal argument against physicalism less persuasive than the knowledge argument According to the view proposed by Conee the physicalist can defend himself against the knowledge argument in the following way: But there are problems with this proposal too see Chalmers One way to describe the two steps of epistemic progress is this: Wualia ; Dennett ; Churchland ; Maloney There could be some underlying third cause of both.

People vary in their ability to discriminate colors B. But ex hypothesithe Martian would be lacking quxlia in the sort of imagery and empathy which jadkson on familiarity direct acquaintance with the kinds of qualia to be imaged or empathized.


Knowledge argument

Lewis, Philosophical Papers Volume 1Oxford: But if this description is correct, then her previous knowledge was incomplete for a detailed discussion of Dennett’s argument involving the blue banana trick see Dale Nagel on the other hand seems to be arguing that we cannot generalize from what our experience is like to what bat experience is like because they are too different from us. Mary’s Room is a thought experiment that attempts to establish that there are non-physical properties and attainable knowledge that can be discovered only through conscious experience.

Some have argued that Mary would recognize the colors when first seeing them on the basis of her complete physical knowledge about color vision see Hardin Several attemps have been made to answer objections of this kind.

Can a totally color blind person know about color?

V2 The stronger version of the knowledge argument: He illustrates this with a film projection metaphor. 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 C.

Frank Jackson, Epiphenomenal qualia – PhilPapers

Jackson, I presume, would have us believe epiphenokenal primates distinguish fruit from leaves through unconscious neural processes of which the color of that fruit is just a by-product.

We observe the qualia as effects but the real cause of behaviour is not qualia but Brain Events. It seems just obvious that she will learn something about the world and our visual experience of it.

He calls these “Martian colors.

Retrieved December 2, To avoid the antimaterialist conclusion C3 the physicalist can a object against the inference from P1 to C1 a minority of philosophers have chosen this strategy, see Section 4. But she still lacks the relevant items of knowledge about what other people experience: The What is it Like to Be Argument. If, as the argument allows, Mary does understand all that there is to know regarding the physical nature of colour vision, she would be in a position epipuenomenal imagine what colour vision would be like.


Indeed, if physicalism were true, there would be no need to extrapolate from our experience or imagine how Fred experiences colors, because we’d already know q. She thus has acquired a new concept of phenomenal blueness. The Dualist View About the Knowledge Argument There has not been much discussion of the knowledge argument from a dualist perspective.

That a person has incomplete knowledge about a certain topic does not imply without further assumptions that there is some specific fact she does not have knowledge of. It is common to formulate Mary’s new knowledge in terms of Thomas Nagel’s famous locution of knowing what it’s like: It has, however, been pointed out see Graham and Horgan,footnote 4 with its reference to Shepard that at least presently available results of color vision science do not exclude a Mary-case.


Much like the theoretical Mary, our colorblind synesthete volunteer cannot see certain hues, because of deficient color receptors. If all physical facts can be known under some physical conceptualization, then a person who has complete physical knowledge about a topic knows all the relevant physical facts.

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 epilhenomenal premise of the second version and insist that 2a does not imply 2b.