The knowledge argument, the open question argument, and the moral problem

Synthese 171 (1):25 - 45 (2009)
Michael Pelczar
National University of Singapore
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.
Keywords knowledge argument  phenomenal knowledge  new guise strategy
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-008-9378-7
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Word and Object.W. V. Quine - 1960 - MIT Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume - 1738 - Oxford University Press.

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