David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (2-3):74-97 (2009)
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 gaining specific new phenomenal knowledge is required for acquiring abilities of the relevant kind. Phenomenal knowledge being basic to abilities, and not vice versa, it is left an open question whether someone who acquires such abilities also learns something factual. The answer depends on whether the new phenomenal knowledge involved is factual. But this is the same question we wanted to settle when first considering the knowledge argument. The ability hypothesis, therefore, has offered us no dialectical progress with the knowledge argument, and is best forgotten.
|Keywords||consciousness knowledge argument ability hypothesis Lewis Nemirow Mary Jackson|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Earl Conee (1994). Phenomenal Knowledge. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (2):136-150.
Gabriel Rabin (2011). Conceptual Mastery and the Knowledge Argument. Philosophical Studies 154 (1):125-147.
Peter Ludlow, Yujin Nagasawa & Daniel Stoljar (eds.) (2004). There's Something About Mary: Essays on Phenomenal Consciousness and Frank Jackson's Knowledge Argument. MIT Press.
Laurence Nemirow (2006). So This is What It's Like: A Defense of the Ability Hypothesis. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press
Paul Raymont (1995). Tye's Criticism of the Knowledge Argument. Dialogue 34 (4):713-26.
Paul Noordhof (2003). Something Like Ability. Australian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1):21-40.
Michael Tye (2000). Knowing What It is Like: The Ability Hypothesis and the Knowledge Argument. In Gerhard Preyer (ed.), Consciousness, Color, and Content. MIT Press 223.
Torin Alter (2001). Know-How, Ability, and the Ability Hypothesis. Theoria 67 (3):229-39.
Paul Raymont (1999). The Know-How Response to Jackson's Knowledge Argument. Journal of Philosophical Research 24 (January):113-26.
Uwe Meyer (2001). The Knowledge Argument, Abilities, and Metalinguistic Beliefs. Erkenntnis 55 (3):325-347.
Added to index2009-01-29
Total downloads664 ( #645 of 1,777,929 )
Recent downloads (6 months)159 ( #3,385 of 1,777,929 )
How can I increase my downloads?
|Start a new thread||There is 1 thread in this forum|
University of Szczecin
I would like to challenge the premise motivating this criticism of the ability hypothesis.
Sometimes philosophical analyses fail to recognize a crucial distinction. In the case of this paper, the problem is that a distinction is made where none is justified. The distinction drawn is between phenomenal knowledge on the one hand and abilities on the other. Generally regarded as "knowledge of what it is like to experience something," phenomenal knowledge is the very thing that Hypothesists (to use Mr. Coleman's term) would classify as a set of abilities.
Mr. Coleman says: "it is because acquiring the relevant abilities involves knowing what certain experiences are like that the abilities elude the classroom—these inherit their elusiveness from the elusiveness of the phenomenal knowledge they depend upon."
I would rather say that acquiring the relevant abilities is learning what certain experiences are like.
My take on the ability hypothesis may be in some ways novel (I am not aware of ... (read more)