Rationalism In The Problem Of Mary

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The thought experiment of "The Problem of Mary" was generated by Frank Jackson to exhibit the non-physical characteristic of the mental state. The experiment goes as the following: Mary, a brilliant scientist, has lived her life surrounded by only a black and white setting. She did not have access to color, for there were not even any colored devices that she owned in her room. Mary acquires access to the outside world only through her computer, which only as a black and white display as well. Her existing knowledge of color was obtained only through books, media from her computer, and experiments on subjects that she conducted from outside of her room. Mary comprehends the way color is perceived in the brain and the physical facts about how …show more content…
The experiment implies that Mary learned something new when she left the room. The criticism this premise would receive relates to a branch of epistemology called Rationalism. This philosophy acknowledges knowledge is obtainable through one's intellectual process. Knowledge and truth are products of the mind. Rationalists presume that knowledge is a priori, meaning it comes before. They emphasize that an individual possesses innate knowledge, implying that people already have knowledge instilled in their intellect. Through this assumption, rationalism can be used to criticize "The Problem of Mary" because the philosophical branch of epistemology emphasizes that the principle of logic is responsible for Mary's understanding of color, not her experience. A rationalist will state that individuals use their pre-existing knowledge to gain further knowledge in the world in order to conclude to an arrival of judgment. The experiment assumes that Mary has all the facts about color, despite only gaining her knowledge from books and the media, and gains further knowledge when she leaves the room. Is it possible for Mary to comprehend the physical truths of color without experiencing color at all? A rationalist will reply with yes because rationalism presumes that Mary did in fact possess knowledge of color without the need of undergoing the experience of seeing color because she already possessed a priori knowledge of the color. It did not matter whether she saw the color red for the first time, she already had the fundamental facts she needed to know about the color red. The conclusion that rationalism provides in criticizing the Mary experiment is perceived as a fallacy, in return, by another branch of epistemology called Empiricism. Empiricism presumes that it would be an error to assume that Mary did, in fact, possess complete knowledge of color without

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