Analysis Of Epiphenomenal Qualia

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In philosophy, physicalism is the thesis that states "everything is physical", that there is "nothing over and above" the physical, or that everything supervenes on the physical. It is the one-substance view of reality as opposed to dualism, which is two-substance. It states that the mind is made up of purely physical material, and can eventually be explained entirely by physical theory. However, physicalism faces one of its most serious challenges in a thought experiment involving a scientist named Mary who has never seen color before. Famously created by Frank Jackson in “Epiphenomenal Qualia,” the thought experiment intends to deny that certain mental phenomena are physical. Specifically, when he created the experiment, Jackson wanted to …show more content…
After reading both “Epiphenomenal Qualia” and “What Experiences Teaches” has made me conclude that physicalism is not the most complete theory for explaining our world. It fails to include how qualia and human experiences, both components of the human conscious, can be explained in terms of physical explanations. In Mary’s case, these phenomenal qualia were the experience of seeing colors for the first time. Only after Mary saw the color red after she left the room did she know what red actually looked like. Jackson’s claim is that since she did learn something new, it means physicalism is false. I agree with this because there is no physical description can consider what it feels like to be able to see colors, smell the fragrance of a rose, or to love another human being because these things are different for every individual and is controlled by our human conscious. Looking at the Fred example in “Epiphenomenal Qualia,” it shows that even if we could replicate the exact physiology of a Fred’s brain and eyes that could mimic the behavior of his parts and are organized in the same manner as they are in his brain, we would still not be able to know what he feels when he sees the love of his life and why he loves her. Physicalism would only explain the chemical process of the brain, such as when dopamine is released or when Fred’s heart begins to beat faster. However, we would not be able to understand why his conscious is perceiving this outside information the way it does. Similarly, a real-world example of this is driving. Before I got my license, I tried to learn everything there was to learn about driving, including the rules of driving, the controls of the car, and even virtual simulations of driving on the road with a virtual reality headset. I felt confident in my knowledge and ability to drive a car. However, when I

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