In this paper I present a new argument against internalist theories of practical reason. My argument is inpired by Frank Jackson's celebrated KnowledgeArgument. I ask what will happen when an agent experiences pain for the first time. Such an agent, I argue, will gain new normative knowledge that internalism cannot explain. This argument presents a similar difficulty for other subjectivist and constructivist theories of practical reason and value. I end by suggesting that some (...) debates in meta-ethics and in the philosophy of mind might be more closely intertwined than philosophers in either area would like to believe. (shrink)
There is widespread debate in contemporary philosophy of mind over the place of conscious experiences in the natural world – where the latter is taken to be broadly as described and explained by such sciences as physics, chemistry and biology; while conscious experiences encompass pains, bodily sensations, perceptions, feelings and moods. Many philosophers and scientists, who endorse physicalism or materialism, maintain that these mental states can be completely described and explained in natural terms. Frank Jackson’s knowledgeargument is (...) a very influential objection to physicalism and, thus, to such an optimistic view about the scientific treatability of conscious experiences. According to the knowledgeargument, we can know facts about our colour experiences that are not physical facts. At the heart of this book lies a response to the knowledgeargument that aims to defend a version of physicalism, that the author calls modest reductionism. This reply is based on the endorsement of the phenomenal concept strategy. According to this response, the knowledgeargument cannot prove that there are non-physical facts. Instead, it can only show that there are ways of thinking about colour experiences that are based on phenomenal concepts that differ from scientific concepts. The author argues for the superiority of the phenomenal concept strategy over other influential physicalist replies to the knowledgeargument. However, he criticises some recent physicalist accounts of phenomenal concepts and develops his own distinctive theory of these concepts. (shrink)
Someone who knew everything about the world’s physical nature could, apparently, suffer from ignorance about various aspects of conscious experience. Someone who knew everything about the world’s physical and mental nature could, apparently, suffer from moral ignorance. Does it follow that there are ways the world is, over and above the way it is physically or psychophysically? This paper defends a negative answer, based on a distinction between knowing the fact that p and knowing that p. This distinction is made (...) intelligible by reference to criterial connections between the possession of moral or phenomenal knowledge, and the satisfaction of cognitively neutral conditions of desire and experiential history. The existence of such connections in the moral case makes for an efficient dissolution of the so-called moral problem. (shrink)
I defend Frank Jackson's knowledgeargument against physicalism in the philosophy of mind from a criticism that has been advanced by Laurence Nemirow and David Lewis. According to their criticism, what Mary lacked when she was in her black and white room was a set of abilities; she did not know how to recognize or imagine certain types of experience from a first-person perspective. Her subsequent discovery of what it is like to experience redness amounts to no more (...) than her acquisition of these abilities. The physicalist can admit this, since it does not commit one to the view that there are any facts of which Mary was ignorant (in spite of her exhaustive knowledge of truths about the physical world). I argue against this view, on the grounds that the knowledge of what an experience is like cannot be equated with the possession of any set of abilities. (shrink)
I argue that Frank Jackson's knowledgeargument 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 character of qualia is plausible only on the assumption that they are non-physical. Since these two arguments cannot be combined coherently, the most Jackson's argument can establish is that qualia are non-physical. (shrink)
Frank Jackson formulated his knowledgeargument as an argument for dualism. In this paper I show how the argument can be modified to also establish the irreducibility of the secondary qualities to the properties of physical theory, and ultimately.
In this paper I discuss a variant of the knowledgeargument which is based upon Frank Jackson's Mary thought experiment. Using this argument, Jackson tries to support the thesis that a purely physical â or, put generally: an objectively scientific â perspective upon the world excludes the important domain of `phenomenal' facts, which are only accessible introspectively. Martine Nida-RÃ¼melinhas formulated the epistemological challenge behind the case of Mary especially clearly. I take her formulation of the problem as (...) a starting-point and present a solution which is based solely on the concepts of capability and of metalinguistic beliefs. References to epiphenomenal facts, phenomenal knowledge etc. will be avoided completely. I specify my proposal against the backdrop of Burge's critical reflections about metalinguistic reinterpretation of expressions of belief and the externalist thesis held by Burge, Putnam and others that meanings and mental states are dependent upon the environment. My solution is then compared with Lewis' and Nemirow's ability objection. Finally I argue that the much discussed ``knowing what it is like'' has in its ordinary meaning nothing much to do with `phenomenal knowledge' or knowledge of `epiphenomenal' facts. (shrink)
The literature on the KnowledgeArgument exhibits considerable confusion about the precise nature of the argument. I contend that a clarification of the essence of self-presenting properties provides an explanation of this confusion such that the confusion itself is evidence for dualism. I also claim that Mary gains six different sorts of knowledge after gaining sight, and I show how this claim provides a response to a physicalist undercutting defeater for the KnowledgeArgument. I (...) try to show that this defeater is inadequate due to its failure to capture the epistemic richness of what happens to Mary. Finally, I indicate how my enriched version of the KnowledgeArgument provides grounds for rejecting those varieties of physicalism that eschew a depiction of phenomenal propertiesas intrinsic attributes a subject exemplifies in favor of a view that treats them as functional roles a subject realizes. (shrink)
The knowledgeargument aims to refute physicalism, the view that the world is entirely physical. The argument first establishes the existence of facts (or truths or information) 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 (1982, 1986) gave the argument its classic formulation. But now he rejects the argument (Jackson 1998b, 2003, chapter 3 of this volume). (...) On his view, it relies on a false conception of sensory experience, which should be replaced with representationalism (also known as intentionalism), the view that phenomenal states are just representational states. And he argues that mental representation is physically explicable. (shrink)
In a now famous thought experiment, Frank jackson asked us t0 imagine an omniscient scientist, Mary, who is coniincd in a black-and-white room and then released into the world 0f color (jackson 1982; jackson 1986; cf. Braddon—Mitch<-:11 and Jackson 1996). Assuming that she is omniscicnt in respect of all physical facts—roughiy, all the facts available to physics and all the facts that they in turn Hx or determine-physicalism would suggest that there is no new fact Mary can discover after emancipation; (...) physicalism holds that all facts are physical in the relevant sense (for a fuller statement scc Pettit 1993; jackson 1998). Yet we cannot help but feel that coming out of that room would be an occasion of dramatic enlightenment and, in particular, an occasion for learning facts to do with how red or yellow or blue 100ks or, as it is usually said, with what it is like t0 sec red or yellow or blue. Many in the black-and—whit<—: room knew all the physical facts about the world, where these may be taken to include three sorts of color facts: objcctual facts, as to what surface colors different objects have, assuming as I shall do throughout—that colors are properties of objects; intentional facts, as to which colors different objects 0r apparent objects are represented as having in the subjc-:ct’s experience, rightly or wrongly; and nonintentional facts, about what such color experiences are like in their effects on subiccts—wh<—:ther they are comforting, or arousing, or whatever. But, according to the argument, Mary didn’t know how any color looks or, equivalently, what color experience is like in itself, not just in its effects O1'1 subjects. This particular nonintentional fact about the quality of color c-zxpc-2ri<—:ncc-—this phenomenal fact, as it is often describcd—she did not.. (shrink)
*[[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 (which explores issues about phenomenal concepts and beliefs in much more depth, mostly independently of questions about materialism). The main ideas of the last three sections are drawn from Chalmers 1996, 1999, and 2002a, although with considerable revision and elaboration. ]].
Frank Jackson first presented the KnowledgeArgument (henceforth KA) in "Epiphenomenal Qualia" 1982). The KA is an argument against physicalism, the doctrine that (very roughly put) 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.
According to Frank Jackson’s famous knowledgeargument, Mary, a brilliant neuroscientist raised in a black and white room and bestowed with complete physical knowledge, cannot know certain truths about phenomenal experience. This claim about knowledge, in turn, implies that physicalism is false. I argue that the knowledgeargument founders on a dilemma. Either (i) Mary cannot know the relevant experiential truths because of trivial obstacles that have no bearing on the truth of physicalism or (...) (ii) once the obstacles have been removed, Mary can know the relevant truths. If we give Mary the epistemological capabilities necessary to draw metaphysical conclusions about physicalism, she will, while trapped in the black and white room, be able to know every truth about phenomenal experience. (shrink)
The definitive statement of the KnowledgeArgument was formulated by Frank Jackson, in a paper entitled “Epiphenomenal Qualia” that appeared in The Philosophical Quarterly in 1982. Arguments in the same spirit had appeared earlier (Broad 1925, Robinson 1982), but Jackson’s argument is most often compared with Thomas Nagel’s argument in “What is it Like to be a Bat?” (1974). Jackson, however, takes pains to distinguish his argument from Nagel’s. This entry will follow standard practice in (...) focusing on Jackson’s argument, though I will also describe the main points of alleged similarity and dissimilarity between these two arguments. (shrink)
The knowledgeargument aims to refute physicalism, the doctrine that the world is entirely physical. Physicalism (also known as materialism) is widely accepted in contemporary philosophy. But some doubt that phenomenal consciousness.
Frank Jackson endorses epiphenomenalism because he thinks that his knowledgeargument undermines physicalism. One of the most interesting criticisms of Jackson's position is what I call the 'inconsistency objection'. The inconsistency objection says that Jackson's position is untenable because epiphenomenalism undermines the knowledgeargument. The inconsistency objection has been defended by various philosophers independently, including Michael Watkins, Fredrik Stjernberg, and Neil Campbell. Surprisingly enough, while Jackson himself admits explicitly that the inconsistency objection is 'the most powerful (...) reply to the knowledgeargument' he knows of, it has never been discussed critically. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the objection and to identify and consider its implications. The objection is alleged to be based on a causal theory of knowledte. I argue that the objection fails by showing that any causal theory of knowledge is such that it is either false or does not support the inconsistency objection. In order to defend my argument, I offer a hypothesis concerning phenomenal knowledge. (shrink)
This paper offers a new solution to the knowledgeargument. Both a priori and a posteriori physicalists reject the claim that Mary does not know all the facts, but they do so for different reasons. While the former think that Mary gains no new knowledge of any fact, the latter think that Mary gains new knowledge of an old fact. This paper argues that on a broad understanding of what counts as physical, it is consistent with (...) physicalism that Mary does not know all the physical facts, and that on a narrow understanding, it is consistent with physicalism that Mary knows all the physical facts, but not all the facts. Either way, Mary gains new knowledge of a new fact that is not non-physical. The resultant view. (shrink)
On the self-locating response to the knowledgeargument Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9612-2 Authors Daniel Stoljar, Philosophy Program, Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT, 0200 Australia Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
The knowledgeargument is an argument against physicalism that was first formulated by Frank Jackson in 1982. While Jackson no longer endorses it, it is still regarded as one of the most important arguments in the philosophy of mind. Physicalism is the metaphysical thesis that, roughly speaking, everything in this world—including tables, galaxies, cheese cakes, cars, atoms, and even our sensations— are ultimately physical. The knowledgeargument attempts to undermine this thesis by appealing to the (...) following simple imaginary scenario: Mary is confined to a black-and-white room, is educated through black-and-white books and through lectures relayed on black-and white television. In this way she learns everything there is to know about the physical nature of the world. She knows all the physical facts about us and our environment, in a wide sense of ‘physical’ which includes everything in completed physics, chemistry, and neurophysiology, and all there is to know about the causal and relational facts consequent upon all this, including of course functional roles. (Jackson 1986, p. 291) The knowledgeargument says that if physicalism is true, Mary knows everything in this world. However, it seems obvious that her knowledge is not yet complete. Suppose that.. (shrink)
I argue on linguistic grounds that when Mary comes to know what it's like to see a red thing, she comes to know a certain inexpressible truth about the character of her own experience. This affords a "no concept" reply to the knowledgeargument. The reason the KnowledgeArgument has proven so intractable may be that we believe that an inexpressible concept and an expressible concept cannot have the same referent.
Frank Jackson’s knowledgeargument is a very influential piece of reasoning that seeks to show that colour experiences constitute an insoluble problem for science. This argument is based on a thought experiment concerning Mary. She is a vision scientist who has complete scientific knowledge of colours and colour vision but has never had colour experiences. According to Jackson, upon seeing coloured objects, Mary acquires new knowledge that escapes her complete scientific knowledge. He concludes that (...) there are facts concerning colour experiences that scientific knowledge can neither describe nor explain. Specifically, these facts involve the occurrence of certain non-physical properties of experiences that he calls qualia. The present research considers whether a plausible formulation of the hypothesis that science can accommodate colour experiences is threatened by a version of the knowledgeargument. The specific formulation of this problem has two motivations. Firstly, before investigating whether the knowledgeargument raises a problem for the claim that science can account for colour experiences, we need a plausible formulation of this claim. I argue that the idea that science can accommodate colour experiences can be formulated as the modest reductionism hypothesis. Roughly speaking, this is the hypothesis that a science that can be explanatory interfaced with current physics of ordinary matter can account for conscious experiences. Secondly, an unintelligible premise figures in Jackson’s version the knowledgeargument. Namely, it is assumed that Mary possesses a complete (future or possible) scientific knowledge. Nevertheless, the type of strategy involved in Jackson’s argument can be used to target modest reductionism. By considering contemporary psychophysics and neuroscience, I characterise Mary’s scientific knowledge. First, this characterisation is intelligible. In fact, it is elaborated on the basis of descriptions and explanations of colour experiences involved in current physics and neuroscience. Second, a supporter of modest reductionism can assume that the scientific knowledge ascribed to Mary might account for colour experiences. The main conclusion of the present research is that our version of the knowledgeargument fails to threaten the modest reductionism hypothesis. In fact, I endorse what can be called the “two ways of thinking” reply to the knowledgeargument. According to this response, the knowledgeargument shows that there are different ways of thinking about colour experiences. One way of thinking is provided by scientific knowledge. The other way of thinking is provided by our ordinary conception of colour experiences. However, the existence of these two ways of thinking does not imply the existence of facts and properties that escape scientific knowledge. It might be the case that the ordinary way of thinking about colour experience concerns facts and properties described and explained by science. The principal conclusion of the research results from two investigations. The first line of research aims to reveal and evaluate the implicit assumptions that figure in the knowledgeargument. The main body of the research is dedicated to this task. The principal result of this investigation is that the knowledgeargument must rely on an account of introspective knowledge of colour experiences. I argue that an inferential model of introspection provides such account. On this model, Mary’s capacity to hold beliefs about her colour experiences when she sees coloured objects requires her mastery of colour concepts. The second main investigation seeks to justify the two ways of thinking strategy. As many opponents and supporters have recently started to realise, this strategy might be charged with being ad hoc. I offer a distinctive justification of this reply to the knowledgeargument. Assuming the account of introspection mentioned above, the existence of visual recognitional colour concepts might justify this strategy. A person possesses these concepts when she is able to determine the colours of objects simply by having visual experiences. (shrink)
The central attempt of this paper is to explain the underlying intuitions of Frank Jackson’s “KnowledgeArgument” that the epistemic gap between phenomenal knowledge and physical knowledge points towards a corresponding ontological gap. The first step of my analysis is the claim that qualia are epistemically special because the acquisition of the phenomenal concept of a quale x requires the experience of x. Arguing what is so special about phenomenal concepts and pointing at the inherence-relation (...) with the qualia they pick out, I give compelling reasons for the existence of ontologically distinct entities. Finally I conclude that phenomenal knowledge is caused by phenomenal properties and the instantiation of these properties is a specific phenomenal fact, which can not be mediated by any form of descriptive information. So it will be shown that phenomenal knowledge must count as the possession of very special information necessarily couched in subjective, phenomenal conceptions. (shrink)
A defense of Frank Jackson's knowledgeargument from an objection raised by Michael Tye (1986, 1989), according to which Mary acquires no new factual knowledge when she first sees red but, instead, merely comes to know old facts (that she already knew) in a new way.
I much appreciated Elizabeth Schier's paper on Frank Jackson's knowledgeargument, published in the January 2008 issue of Journal of Consciousness Studies (Schier, 2008) -- in part, I confess, because of resonances with my gestalt argument for free will (Hodgson, 2001; 2002; 2005; 2007a,b). I would like to offer two comments on this paper.
Yujin Nagasawa has recently defended Frank Jackson’s knowledgeargument from the “inconsistency objection.” The objection claims that the premises of the knowledgeargument 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 (...) class='Hi'>argument remains. (shrink)
ABSTRACT. Thought experiments about de se attitudes and Jackson’s original KnowledgeArgument are compared with each other and discussed from the perspective of a computational theory of mind. It is argued that internal knowledge, i.e. knowledge formed on the basis of signals that encode aspects of their own processing rather than being intentionally directed towards external objects, suffices for explaining the seminal puzzles without resorting to acquaintance or phenomenal character as primitive notions. Since computationalism is ontologically (...) neutral, the account also explains why neither Lewis’s two gods nor Mary’s surprise in the KnowledgeArgument violate physicalism. (shrink)
The article introduces two kinds of belief-phenomenal belief and nonphenomenal belief-about color experiences and examines under what conditions the distinction can be extended to belief about other kinds of mental states. A thesis of the paper is that the so-called KnowledgeArgument should not be formulated-as usual-using the locution of `knowing what it's like' but instead using the concept of phenomenal belief and explains why `knowing what it's like' does not serve the purposes of those who wish to (...) defend the KnowledgeArgument. The article distinguishes two rival accounts of the phenomenal/nonphenomenal distinction and explains how the result of the KnowledgeArgument depends upon which of these accounts one wishes to accept. (shrink)
The paper discusses Crane’s analysis of Knowledgeargument, and sets forth author’s disagreement with Crane. Surely Mary learns something new when she sees a color for the first time. The time for a physicalist to quarrel comes only when a qualia person says that this experience represents special phenomenal facts, and that such understanding should be identified with propositional knowledge. We should not confuse ‘having information’ with having the same information in the form of knowledge or (...) belief. Mary knows everything there is to know about color vision. The only thing she has not done is practically experience what it is like to see a color. Thus her knowledge gap is practical and not propositional. (shrink)
Recently a number of authors have responded to the knowl-edge argument by suggesting that Mary could learn about new physi-cal facts upon release (Flanagan, 1992; Mandik, 2001; Stoljar, 2001; Van Gulick, 1985). A key step in achieving this is a demonstration that there are facts that can be known via colour experience that cannot be learnt scientifically. In this paper I develop an account of scientific and visual knowledge on which there is a difference between the knowledge (...) provided by science and that provided by vision. (shrink)
Frank Jackson’s knowledgeargument (KA) aims to prove, by means of a thought experiment concerning the hypothetical scientist Mary, that conscious experiences have non-physical properties, called qualia. Mary has complete scientific knowledge of colours and colour vision without having had any colour experience. The central intuition in the KA is that, by seeing colours, Mary will learn what it is like to have colour experiences. Therefore, her scientific knowledge is incomplete, and conscious experiences have qualia. In (...) this paper I consider an objection to the KA raised by Daniel Dennett. He maintains that the KA is vitiated by Jackson’s account of Mary’s scientific knowledge. While endorsing this criticism, I will defend the plausibility and relevance of the type of strategy involved in the KA by offering an account of Mary’s scientific knowledge. This account involves formulating a reasonable and not immediately false version of the physicalist thesis with regard to colour experiences. Whether this version of the KA is successful against this type of physicalism is not investigated here. (shrink)
The idea that formal geometry derives from intuitive notions of space has appeared in many guises, most notably in Kant’s argument from geometry. Kant claimed that an a priori knowledge of spatial relationships both allows and constrains formal geometry: it serves as the actual source of our cognition of principles of geometry and as a basis for its further cultural development. The development of non-Euclidean geometries, however, seemed to deﬁnitely undermine the idea that there is some privileged relationship (...) between our spatial intuitions and mathematical theory. This paper’s aim is to look at this longstanding philosophical issue through the lens of cognitive science. Drawing on recent evidence from cognitive ethology, developmental psychology, neuroscience and anthropology, I argue for an enhanced, more informed version of the argument from geometry: humans share with other species evolved, innate intuitions of space which serve as a vital precondition for geometry as a formal science. (shrink)
The Knowability Paradox is a logical argument to the effect that, if there are truths not actually known, then there are unknowable truths. Recently, Alexander Paseau and Bernard Linsky have independently suggested a possible way to counter this argument by typing knowledge. In this article, we argue against their proposal that if one abstracts from other possible independent considerations supporting reasons for typing knowledge and considers the motivation for a type-theoretic approach with respect to the Knowability (...) Paradox alone, there is no substantive philosophical motivation to type knowledge, except that of solving the paradox. Every attempt to independently justify the typing of knowledge is doomed to failure. (shrink)
The development of the semantic externalism in the 1970s was followed by a debate on the compatibility of externalism and self-knowledge. Boghossian’s memory argument is one of the most important arguments against the compatibilist view. However, some compatibilists attack Boghossian’s argument by pointing out that his understanding of memory is internalistic. Ludlow and others developed the externalist view of memory to defend the compatibility of externalism and self-knowledge. However, the externalist view of memory undermines the epistemic (...) status of memory since it gives memory a burden that is too heavy for it to carry. This paper argues that only if we take the content of memory to be narrow and take that of self-knowledge to be wide and replace Cartesian self-knowledge with contextually constrained self-knowledge, can the compatibility of externalism and self-knowledge be effectively defended. (shrink)
The argument I present here is an example of the manner in which naturalizing epistemology can help address fairly traditional epistemological issues. I develop one argument against coherentist epistemologies of empirical knowledge. In doing so, I draw on BonJour (1985), for that account seems to me to indicate the direction in which any plausible coherentist account would need to be developed, at least insofar as such accounts are to conceive of justification in terms of an agent (minimally) (...) possessing articul able reasons and arguments, as is standard. I end by indicating important elements of coherentist epistemology that can be salvaged in the face of my argument, provided we are willing to drop the traditional commitment to characterizing justification in terms of the structure of articulable argument. (shrink)
The Doomsday Argument says we should increase our subjective probability that Doomsday will occur once we take into account how many humans have lived before us. One objection to this conclusion is that we should accept the Self-Indication Assumption (SIA): Given the fact that you exist, you should (other things equal) favor hypotheses according to which many observers exist over hypotheses on which few observers exist. Nick Bostrom argues that we should not accept the SIA, because it can be (...) used without knowledge of birth rank. Bradley Monton tries to construct a Doomsday Argument without knowledge of birth rank. I argue that Monton fails. The argument he constructs has implicit knowledge of birth rank and it is this knowledge that does the work. Furthermore, I argue that provided we dont have certain specific information about the future, the Doomsday Argument requires knowledge of birth rank. (shrink)
The Carter-Leslie Doomsday argument, as standardly presented, relies on the assumption that you have knowledge of your approximate birth rank. I demonstrate that the Doomsday argument can still be given in a situation where you have no knowledge of your birth rank. This allows one to reply to Bostrom's defense of the Doomsday argument against the refutation based on the idea that your existence makes it more likely that many observers exist.
Se examina uno de los argumentos principales de Creer, saber, conocer en contra de la inclusión de la noción de verdad en la definición de saber. Se sostiene que el argumento falla, entre otras razones, porque concede al escéptico una premisa falsa acerca de las condiciones de aplicabilidad del verbo "saber". /// One of the main arguments of Creer, saber, conocer against the inclusion of the notion of truth in the definition of knowledge is examined. It is claimed that (...) the argument fails, among other reasons, because it grants the sceptic a false premise about the conditions of applicability of the verb "to know". (shrink)
Contemporary biologists generally agree with E. O. Wilson’s claim that “reduction is the traditional instrument of scientific analysis.” This is certainly true of Michael Ruse, who has attempted to provide a Darwinian account of human scientific knowledge in terms of epigenetic rules. Such an account depends on the characterization of natural objects as the chance concatenations of material elements, making natural form an effect rather than a cause of the object. This characterization, however, can be shown to be false (...) in that it is self-refuting in its exclusion of formal cause. The retorsive argument for formal cause dialectically shows that any attempt to explain a natural object depends on the identification of form as the cause of the intelligibility of the object. It follows that Darwinian explanations of the products of human culture, such as science, cannot consistently treat form as an effect rather than a cause. (shrink)
According to the knowledgeargument, 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 knowledgeargument 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 knowledgeargument. The ability hypothesis, therefore, has offered us no dialectical progress with the knowledgeargument, and is best forgotten. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to assess the relationship between anti-physicalist arguments in the philosophy of mind and anti-naturalist arguments in metaethics, and to show how the literature on the mind-body problem can inform metaethics. Among the questions we will consider are: (1) whether a moral parallel of the knowledgeargument can be constructed to create trouble for naturalists, (2) the relationship between such a "Moral KnowledgeArgument" and the familiar Open Question Argument, and (...) (3) how naturalists can respond to the Moral Twin Earth argument. We will give particular attention to recent arguments in the philosophy of mind that aim to show that anti-physicalist arguments can be defused by acknowledging a distinctive kind of conceptual dualism between the phenomenal and the physical. This tactic for evading anti-physicalist arguments has come to be known as the Phenomenal Concept Strategy. We will propose a metaethical version of this strategy, which we shall call the `Moral Concept Strategy'. We suggest that the Moral Concept Strategy offers the most promising way out of these anti-naturalist arguments,though signi cant challenges remain. (shrink)
Frank Jackson’s famous KnowledgeArgument moves from the premise that complete physical knowledge is not complete knowledge about experiences to the falsity of physicalism. In recent years, a consensus has emerged that the credibility of this and other well-known anti-physicalist arguments can be undermined by allowing that we possess a special category of concepts of experiences, phenomenal concepts, which are conceptually independent from physical/functional concepts. It is held by a large number of philosophers that since the (...) conceptual independence of phenomenal concepts does not imply the metaphysical independence of phenomenal properties, physicalism is safe. This paper distinguishes between two versions of this novel physicalist strategy –Phenomenal Concept Strategy (PCS) – depending on how it cashes out “conceptual independence,” and argues that neither helps the physicalist cause. A dilemma for PCS arises: cashing out “conceptual independence” in a way compatible with physicalism requires abandoning some manifest phenomenological intuitions, and cashing it out in a way compatible with those intuitions requires dropping physicalism. The upshot is that contra Brian Loar and others, one cannot “have it both ways.”. (shrink)
Recent discussions of externalism about mental content have been dominated by the question whether it undermines the intuitively plausible idea that we have knowledge of the contents of our thoughts. In this article I focus on one main line of reasoning (the so-called 'slow switching argument') for the thesis that externalism and self-knowledge are incompatible. After criticizing a number of influential responses to the argument, I set out to explain why it fails. It will be claimed (...) that the argument trades on an ambiguity, and that only by incorporating certain controversial assumptions does it stand a chance of establishing its conclusion. Finally, drawing on an analogy with Benacerraf's challenge to Platonism, I shall offer some reasons as to why the slow switching argument fails to reveal the real source of tension between externalism and privileged self-knowledge. (shrink)
The KnowledgeArgument of Frank Jackson has not persuaded physicalists, but their replies have not dispelled the intuition that someone raised in a black and white environment gains genuinely new knowledge when she sees colors for the first time. In what follows, we propose an explanation of this particular kind of knowledge gain that displays it as genuinely new, but orthogonal to both physicalism and phenomenology. We argue that Mary’s case is an instance of a common (...) phenomenon in which something new is learned as the result of exploiting representational resources that were not previously exploited, and that this results in gaining genuinely new information. (shrink)
From an Indirect Realist point of view, the KnowledgeArgument in the philosophy of perception has been misdirected by its very title. If it can be argued that sense-fields are at their basis no more than evidence, indeed, a part of existence as brute as what is usually termed the 'external', then, if 'knowing' is not essential to sensing, that argument has to be radically reconstructed. Resistance to there being an non-epistemic or 'raw feel' basis for sensing (...) is very fashionable at the moment (e.g. in Davidson, McDowell, Harman), but the present article aims at breaking through it. Scientific facts are adduced to show that sensing can exist without perceiving. It is argued that the part played by motivation in the gathering of knowledge in a feedback system, enhanced by intersubjective linguistic correction in the human case, allows for a ready evolutionary adaptation. One can advance from this to a fresh view of knowledge and rationality which see them at base as part of a folk-psychological method of allowing for continuing disambiguation of what are identified within that method as 'entities' and 'properties'. (shrink)
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 concepts are widely thought to be special and unique among concepts. Both the anti-physicalist arguments and physicalist replies to these arguments turn on views about the nature of phenomenal concepts. In this review I survey the many ways in which the essays in this volume are engaged (pro or con) with anti-physicalist arguments and the role phenomenal concepts play in these arguments. (shrink)
This paper addresses the question whetherintrospection plus externalism about mental contentwarrant an a priori refutation of external-worldskepticism and ontological solipsism. The suggestionis that if thought content is partly determined byaffairs in the environment and if we can havenon-empirical knowledge of our current thoughtcontents, we can, just by reflection, know about theworld around us â we can know that our environment ispopulated with content-determining entities. Afterexamining this type of transcendental argument anddiscussing various objections found in the literature,I argue that (...) the notion of privileged self-knowledgeunderlying this argument presupposes that we canlearn, via introspection, that our so-called thoughtsare propositional attitudes rather than contentlessstates. If, however, externalism is correct andthought content consists in the systematic dependencyof internal states on relational properties, we cannotknow non-empirically whether or not we havepropositional attitudes. Self-knowledge (apropositional attitude) is consistent with us lackingthe ability to rule out, via introspection, thepossibility that we don't have any propositionalattitudes. Self-knowledge provides us with knowledgeof what is in our minds, but not that we haveminds. Hence, the combination of externalism with thedoctrine of privileged self-knowledge does not allowfor an a priori refutation of skepticism and istherefore unproblematic. (shrink)
In this paper, I provide a defence of the New View, on which ignorance is lack of true belief rather than lack of knowledge. Pierre Le Morvan has argued that the New View is untenable, partly because it fails to take into account the distinction between propositional and factive ignorance. I argue that propositional ignorance is just a subspecies of factive ignorance and that all the work that needs to be done can be done by using the concept of (...) factive ignorance. I also defend two arguments of mine in favour of the New View against Le Morvan’s criticisms. As to the Linguistic Argument, I point out that the intuitions of the adherent of the New View about cases of true belief that fall short of knowledge are really intuitions about factive rather than propositional ignorance. As to the Excuse Argument, I argue that true belief is exculpatorily relevant: a true belief in a proposition p , where disbelief that p or suspension on p would provide at least a partial excuse, is relevant in that it renders one blameworthy for one’s action, unless further excuses hold. Finally, I reply to two closely related objections that might be levelled against the New View, namely that it seems false that one can reduce one’s ignorance by arbitrarily believing as many propositions as possible and that it seems false that an intellectually conscientious and critical person is more ignorant than an intellectually sloppy and credulous person just because the latter has more true beliefs. (shrink)