Something Like Ability

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1):21-40 (2003)
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Abstract

One diagnosis of what is wrong with the Knowledge Argument rests on the Ability Hypothesis. This couples an ability analysis of knowing what an experience is like together with a denial that phenomenal propositions exist. I argue against both components. I consider three arguments against the existence of phenomenal propositions and find them wanting. Nevertheless I deny that knowing phenomenal propositions is part of knowing what an experience is like. I provide a hybrid account of knowing what an experience is like which is the coherent expression of a single idea: knowing what an experience is like is knowing what it would be like to have the phenomenal content of the experience as the content of an experience one is currently having. I explain how my conclusions indicate that the focus of discussion should be on the alleged explanatory gap between phenomenal facts and physical facts and not on the Knowledge Argument. The latter is a poor expression of the difficulty Physicalists face.

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Paul Noordhof
University of York

Citations of this work

Knowing What It's Like.Andrew Y. Lee - 2023 - Philosophical Perspectives 37 (1):187-209.
Imagining, Recognizing and Discriminating: Reconsidering the Ability Hypothesis1.Bence Nanay - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):699-717.

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References found in this work

What is it Like to be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 2003 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. New York: Oxford University Press.
What experience teaches.David K. Lewis - 1990 - In William G. Lycan (ed.), Mind and cognition: a reader. Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell. pp. 29--57.
Physicalism and the cognitive role of acquaintance.Laurence Nemirow - 1990 - In William G. Lycan (ed.), Mind and cognition: a reader. Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.

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