Mary Mary au contraire: Reply to Raffman

Philosophical Studies 122 (2):203-12 (2005)
           Diana Raffman (in press) emphasizes a useful and important distinction that deserves heed in discussions of phenomenal consciousness: the distinction between what it’s like to see red and how red things look. (Two alternative locutions that also can express the latter idea, we take it, are ‘what red looks like’ and ‘what red is like’.) Raffman plausibly argues that this distinction should be incorporated into theories of phenomenal consciousness, including materialist theories—in particular, into the materialist theory we focused on in Graham and Horgan (2000), span class=’Hi’ > Michael /span > Tye’s PANIC theory. She also argues that incorporation of the distinction into Tye’s theory provides the basis for plausible reply on Tye’s behalf to our ‘Mary Mary’ version of the knowledge argument against materialism. We agree that Tye would do well to incorporate the distinction, as would advocates of other theories phenomenal consciousness. But in our view, doing so ultimately does not help fend off the Mary-Mary argument.            Raffman argues that knowing what it’s like to see red is a derivative matter, involving introspective attention to one’s experience of seeing red. She suggests that the more fundamental state is knowing how red things look. She writes: What I want to suggest…is that we view Mary’s new knowledge as deriving almost entirely from her perceptual representations…. That is to say, we ought to view her new knowledge as deriving not from introspection or from higher-order consciousness, but from perception or phenomenal consciousness. I will say that the primary object of Mary’s learning is not what it’s like to see red, but rather how red things look…. Mary learns how red things look whether or not she introspects…. How red things look is learned by perceiving; what it’s like to see (look at) red is learned by introspecting….
Keywords Consciousness  Experience  Knowledge  Metaphysics  Perception  Raffman, D
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