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Summary The knowledge argument against physicalism centers on the claim that complete physical knowledge does not enable knowledge of consciousness.  In Frank Jackson's formulation, Mary is brought up in a black-and-white room and learns the complete neuroscience of color processing in humans, but she still does not know what it is like to see red: she learns a new fact about color experience when she leaves her room and sees red for the first time.  Jackson argues that Mary knows all the physical facts but not all the facts about color experience, so some facts about color experience are not physical facts.  Physicalists have replied in many different ways.  Some argue that Mary gains an ability without learning a new fact.  Others argue that she gains acquaintance with a property without learning a new facts.  Others argue that she learns a fact she already knew under a new mode of presentation.
Key works Jackson's original papers on the knowledge argument are Jackson 1982 and Jackson 1986 (he changes his mind in 2003).  Nemirow 1990 and Lewis 1990 give the ability reply: on leaving the black-and-white room, Mary gains an ability without learning a new fact.  Loar 1990 gives the old-fact reply: Mary learns a fact she already knew under a new mode of presentation.  Conee 1985 gives the acquaintance reply: Mary gains acquaintance with a property without learning new facts.  Dennett 2006 argues that Mary could know about color experience from inside her room.  Two excellent collections of papers on the topic are Nagasawa et al 2004 and Alter & Walter 2007.
Introductions Encyclopedia articles include Nida-Rumelin 2002, Alter 2005, and Gertler 2005Stoljar & Nagasawa 2003 is a thorough introduction including a historical discussion.
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  1. Torin Alter (2013). Social Externalism and the Knowledge Argument. Mind 122 (486):fzt072.
    According to social externalism, it is possible to possess a concept not solely in virtue of one’s intrinsic properties but also in virtue of relations to one’s linguistic community. Derek Ball (2009) argues, in effect, that (i) social externalism extends to our concepts of colour experience and (ii) this fact undermines both the knowledge argument against physicalism and the most popular physicalist response to it, known as the phenomenal concept strategy. I argue that Ball is mistaken about (ii) even granting (...)
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  2. Torin Alter (2008). 13 Phenomenal Knowledge Without Experience. In Edmond L. Wright (ed.), The Case for Qualia. MIT Press 247.
  3. Torin Alter (2007). Knowledge Argument. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell Pub. 396--405.
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  4. Torin Alter (2007). The Knowledge Argument. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell
    The knowledge argument aims to refute physicalism, the doctrine that the world is entirely physical. Physicalism is widely accepted in contemporary philosophy. But some doubt that phenomenal consciousness.
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  5. Torin Alter (2006). Does Representationalism Undermine the Knowledge Argument? In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press 65--76.
    The knowledge argument aims to refute physicalism, the view that the world is entirely physical. The argument first establishes the existence of facts about consciousness that are not a priori deducible from the complete physical truth, and then infers the falsity of physicalism from this lack of deducibility. Frank Jackson gave the argument its classic formulation. But now he rejects the argument . On his view, it relies on a false conception of sensory experience, which should be replaced with representationalism (...)
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  6. Torin Alter, Knowledge Argument Against Physicalism. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  7. Torin Alter (2001). Know-How, Ability, and the Ability Hypothesis. Theoria 67 (3):229-39.
    David Lewis and Laurence Nemirow claim that knowing what an experience is like is knowing-how, not knowing-that. They identify this know-how with the abilities to remember, imagine, and recognize experiences, and Lewis labels their view ‘the Ability Hypothesis’. The Ability Hypothesis has intrinsic interest. But Lewis and Nemirow devised it specifically to block certain anti-physicalist arguments due to Thomas Nagel and Frank Jackson . Does it?
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  8. Torin Alter, The Knowledge Argument. A Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind.
    Frank Jackson first presented the Knowledge Argument in "Epiphenomenal Qualia" 1982). The KA is an argument against physicalism, the doctrine that everything is physical. The general thrust of the KA is that physicalism errs by misconstruing or denying the existence of the subjective features of experience. Physicalists have given numerous responses, and the debate continues about whether the KA ultimately succeeds in refuting any or all forms of physicalism. Jackson himself has recently.
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  9. Torin Alter (1998). A Limited Defense of the Knowledge Argument. Philosophical Studies 90 (1):35-56.
    Mary learns all the physical facts that one can learn by watching lectures on black-on-white television. According to Jackson, Mary learns new facts when she leaves the room and has color experiences, and that this undermines physicalism. Physicalists have responded by denying the new facts thesis; they argue, she acquires abilities, acquaintance knowledge, or new guises. I argue that the NFT is more plausible than any of the proposed alternatives. I also argue that the NFT does not undermine physicalism unless (...)
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  10. Torin Alter (1995). Mary's New Perspective. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 (4):585-84.
    I wish to consider an objection to Frank Jackson's knowledge argument recently made by Derk Pereboom.
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  11. Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.) (2007/2009). Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.
    What is the nature of consciousness? How is consciousness related to brain processes? This volume collects thirteen new papers on these topics: twelve by leading and respected philosophers and one by a leading color-vision scientist. All focus on consciousness in the "phenomenal" sense: on what it's like to have an experience. Consciousness has long been regarded as the biggest stumbling block for physicalism, the view that the mind is physical. The controversy has gained focus over the last few decades, and (...)
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  12. James T. Anderson, A Simple Refutation of the Knowledge Argument Against Physicalism.
    One of the most persuasive objections to the identity thesis.
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  13. István Aranyosi (2008). Review of Torin Alter and Sven Walter (Eds.) Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge. [REVIEW] Mind 117 (467):665-669.
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  14. Jay E. Bachrach (1990). Qualia and Theory Reduction: A Criticism of Paul Churchland. Iyyun 281.
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  15. Julian Baggini (1999). There's Something About Mary. The Philosophers' Magazine 7:37-38.
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  16. Derek Ball (2014). There’s Something About Mary. [REVIEW] The Philosophers' Magazine 64:119-121.
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  17. Derek Ball (2009). There Are No Phenomenal Concepts. Mind 118 (472):935-962.
    It has long been widely agreed that some concepts can be possessed only by those who have undergone a certain type of phenomenal experience. Orthodoxy among contemporary philosophers of mind has it that these phenomenal concepts provide the key to understanding many disputes between physicalists and their opponents, and in particular offer an explanation of Mary’s predicament in the situation exploited by Frank Jackson's knowledge argument. I reject the orthodox view; I deny that there are phenomenal concepts. My arguments exploit (...)
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  18. Katalin Balog (2008). Review of Torin Alter, Sven Walter (Eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (5).
    The book under review is a collection of thirteen essays on the nature phenomenal concepts and the ways in which phenomenal concepts figure in debates over physicalism. Phenomenal concepts are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences (aka “qualia”) whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. There are recent arguments, originating in Descartes’ famous conceivability argument, that purport to show that phenomenal experience is irreducibly non-physical. Second, phenomenal (...)
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  19. Michael Beaton (2005). What RoboDennett Still Doesn't Know. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (12):3-25.
    The explicit aim of Daniel Dennett’s new paper ‘What RoboMary Knows’ is to show that Mary will necessarily be able to come to know what it is like to see in colour, if she fully understands all the physical facts about colour vision. I believe we can establish that Dennett’s line of reasoning is flawed, but the flaw is not as simple as an equivocation on ‘knows’. Rather, it goes to the heart of functionalism and hinges on whether or not (...)
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  20. David Beisecker (2000). There's Something About Mary: Phenomenal Consciousness and its Attributions. Southwest Philosophy Review 16 (2):143-152.
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  21. Reinaldo Bernal Velasquez (2013). Précis of "E-physicalism-a physicalist theory of phenomenal consciousness". Ideas Y Valores 152:268-297.
  22. Reinaldo Bernal Velásquez (2012). E-Physicalism. A Physicalist Theory of Phenomenal Consciousness. Ontos Verlag.
    This work advances a theory in the metaphysics of phenomenal consciousness, which the author labels “e-physicalism”. Firstly, he endorses a realist stance towards consciousness and physicalist metaphysics. Secondly, he criticises Strong AI and functionalist views, and claims that consciousness has an internal character. Thirdly, he discusses HOT theories, the unity of consciousness, and holds that the “explanatory gap” is not ontological but epistemological. Fourthly, he argues that consciousness is not a supervenient but an emergent property, not reducible and endowed with (...)
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  23. J. Berntsen (2004). Why Physicalists Needn't Bother with Perry's Recent Response to the Knowledge Argument. Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (2):135-148.
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  24. John C. Bigelow & Robert Pargetter (2006). Re-Acquaintance with Qualia. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (3):353 – 378.
    Frank Jackson argued, in an astronomically frequently cited paper on 'Epiphenomenal qualia '[Jackson 1982 that materialism must be mistaken. His argument is called the knowledge argument. Over the years since he published that paper, he gradually came to the conviction that the conclusion of the knowledge argument must be mistaken. Yet he long remained totally unconvinced by any of the very numerous published attempts to explain where his knowledge argument had gone astray. Eventually, Jackson did publish a diagnosis of the (...)
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  25. John C. Bigelow & Robert Pargetter (1990). Acquaintance with Qualia. Theoria 61 (3):129-147.
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  26. Mary Kay Blakely (1996). Red, White, and Oh so Blue a Memoir of a Political Depression. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  27. Claire Brock (2006). Mary Somerville and the World of Science. [REVIEW] British Journal for the History of Science 39 (2):297-298.
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  28. Richard Brown (2014). David Chalmers on Mind and Consciousness. In Andrew Bailey (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: The Key Thinkers. Continuum 283-292.
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  29. Richard Brown (2010). Deprioritizing the A Priori Arguments Against Physicalism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (3-4):47-69.
    In this paper I argue that a priori arguments fail to present any real problem for physicalism. They beg the question against physicalism in the sense that the argument will only seem compelling if one is already assuming that qualitative properties are nonphysical. To show this I will present the reverse-zombie and reverse-knowledge arguments. The only evidence against physicalism is a priori arguments, but there are also a priori arguments against dualism of exactly the same variety. Each of these parity (...)
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  30. A. Byrne (2001). Forthcoming “Something About Mary”. Grazer Philosophische Studien 62.
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  31. Alex Byrne (2006). Review of There's Something About Mary. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 21.
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  32. Alex Byrne (2002). Something About Mary. Grazer Philosophische Studien 63 (1):27-52.
    Jackson's black-and-white Mary teaches us that the propositional content of perception cannot be fully expressed in language.
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  33. Stratford Caldecott (1997). Mary and the Convert. The Chesterton Review 23 (4):531-533.
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  34. Neil Campbell (2012). Reply to Nagasawa on the Inconsistency Objection to the Knowledge Argument. Erkenntnis 76 (1):137-145.
    Yujin Nagasawa has recently defended Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument from the “inconsistency objection.” The objection claims that the premises of the knowledge argument are inconsistent with qualia epiphenomenalism. Nagasawa defends Jackson by showing that the objection mistakenly assumes a causal theory of phenomenal knowledge. I argue that although this defense might succeed against two versions of the inconsistency objection, mine is unaffected by Nagasawa’s argument, in which case the inconsistency in the knowledge argument remains.
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  35. Neil Campbell (2003). An Inconsistency in the Knowledge Argument. Erkenntnis 58 (2):261-266.
    I argue that Frank Jackson's knowledge argument cannot succeed in showing that qualia are epiphenomenal. The reason for this is that there is, given the structure of the argument, an irreconcilable tension between his support for the claim that qualia are non-physical and his conclusion that they are epiphenomenal. The source of the tension is that his argument for the non-physical character of qualia is plausible only on the assumption that they have causal efficacy, while his argument for the epiphenomenal (...)
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  36. Yuri Cath (2009). The Ability Hypothesis and the New Knowledge-How. Noûs 43 (1):137-156.
    What follows for the ability hypothesis reply to the knowledge argument if knowledge-how is just a form of knowledge-that? The obvious answer is that the ability hypothesis is false. For the ability hypothesis says that, when Mary sees red for the first time, Frank Jackson’s super-scientist gains only knowledge-how and not knowledge-that. In this paper I argue that this obvious answer is wrong: a version of the ability hypothesis might be true even if knowledge-how is a form of knowledge-that. To (...)
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  37. David J. Chalmers (2004). Phenomenal Concepts and the Knowledge Argument. In Peter Ludlow, Yujin Nagasawa & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), There's Something About Mary: Essays on Phenomenal Consciousness and Frank Jackson's Knowledge Argument. MIT Press 269.
    *[[This paper is largely based on material in other papers. The first three sections and the appendix are drawn with minor modifications from Chalmers 2002c . The main ideas of the last three sections are drawn from Chalmers 1996, 1999, and 2002a, although with considerable revision and elaboration. ]].
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  38. Paul M. Churchland (1989). Knowing Qualia: A Reply to Jackson. In Yujin Nagasawa, Peter Ludlow & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), A Neurocomputational Perspective. MIT Press 163--178.
  39. Paul M. Churchland (1985). Reduction, Qualia and the Direct Introspection of Brain States. Journal of Philosophy 82 (January):8-28.
  40. Lorraine Code (1990). Mary McCanney Gergen, Ed., Feminist Thought and the Structure of Knowledge Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 10 (2):60-63.
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  41. Daniel Cohnitz (2012). In Defence of Antecedent Physicalism. In A. Newen & R. van Riel (eds.), Introduction to the Philosophy of John Perry. CSLI
  42. Sam Coleman (2009). Why the Ability Hypothesis is Best Forgotten. Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (2-3):74-97.
    According to the knowledge argument, physicalism fails because when physically omniscient Mary first sees red, her gain in phenomenal knowledge involves a gain in factual knowledge. Thus not all facts are physical facts. According to the ability hypothesis, the knowledge argument fails because Mary only acquires abilities to imagine, remember and recognise redness, and not new factual knowledge. I argue that reducing Mary’s new knowledge to abilities does not affect the issue of whether she also learns factually: I show that (...)
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  43. Earl Conee (1994). Phenomenal Knowledge. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (2):136-150.
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  44. Earl Conee (1985). Physicalism and Phenomenal Properties. Philosophical Quarterly 35 (July):296-302.
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  45. Earl Conee (1985). Physicalism and Phenomenal Qualities. Philosophical Quarterly 35 (140):296-302.
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  46. Boyd Coolman (2006). Mary Watt. [REVIEW] Speculum 81 (2):496-497.
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  47. Tim Crane (2003). Subjective Facts. In Real Metaphysics: Essays in Honour of D. H. Mellor. New York: Routledge
    An important theme running through D.H. Mellor’s work is his realism, or as I shall call it, his objectivism: the idea that reality as such is how it is, regardless of the way we represent it, and that philosophical error often arises from confusing aspects of our subjective representation of the world with aspects of the world itself. Thus central to Mellor’s work on time has been the claim that the temporal A-series is unreal while the B-series is real. The (...)
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  48. Robert C. Cummins (1984). The Mind of the Matter: Comments on Paul Churchland. Philosophy of Science Association 1984:791-798.
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  49. Nic Damnjanovic (2012). Revelation and Physicalism. Dialectica 66 (1):69-91.
    Revelation is the thesis that having an experience that instantiates some phenomenal property puts us in a position to know the nature or essence of that property. It is widely held that although Revelation is prima facie plausible, it is inconsistent with physicalism, and, in particular, with the claim that phenomenal properties are physical properties. I outline the standard argument for the incompatibility of Revelation and physicalism and compare it with the Knowledge Argument. By doing so, I hope to show (...)
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  50. Charles D. Dekoninck (1943). The Wisdom That is Mary. The Thomist 6:1.
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