The Knowledge Argument By Frank Jackson

1723 Words 7 Pages
One of the main points of the Knowledge Argument is that one can have all of the physical information without having all of the information there is to have. Frank Jackson believes that this applies to any of the senses, such as sight, “taste, hearing, the bodily sensations and generally speaking for the various mental states which are said to have (as it is variously put) raw feels, phenomenal features or qualia” (130). To support this argument he gave examples of a man named Fred who could see two colors where we could only see one color and a woman named Mary who knew everything about color but had never experienced it. A Physicalist believes that there is nothing more to this world than the physical, but Jackson proves this wrong with …show more content…
Mary is kept locked in this room, never seeing color, but she has a black and white television in which she studies the world through. Mary knows everything there is to know about color including all of the scientific facts that involve how we see it all the way to being able to say the sentence “The sky is blue.” But, she has never experienced color and when she is released from her black and white room, it is apparent that Mary will learn something about the world and the experience of seeing colors. A popular explanation for Mary learning something when she finally sees color for the first time is that there are subjective qualities associated with color and Mary had only known the objective, physical knowledge for those qualities, their similarities and differences, and their causes and effects. However, physicalists are not satisfied with this explanation because Mary knows all of the physical facts, so if experiencing something is the same as a physical quality, which is what they believe, then Mary shouldn’t have learned anything (Jackson 130). Thus, physicalism is false because Mary had all the physical knowledge there was to obtain, yet she still gained something from seeing color for the first time. Therefore, qualia, also known as a phenomenal feature, is left …show more content…
The Knowledge Argument is so often disputed that there are several approaches of philosophers to prove the Knowledge Argument wrong that I didn’t even get into and are just as convincing. The idea of someone growing up and never seeing color is so impossible to me that I just can’t accept the argument and choose a side. But let’s ignore that attention to small details and focus on Lewis’ Ability Hypothesis which states that Mary didn’t learn anything, she just gained abilities. This physicalist objection proves that physicalism is true since Mary really didn’t gain propositional knowledge. All of these arguments considered, I believe that in a hypothetical world where it is possible to grow up without ever seeing color, physicalism is true because Mary didn’t gain factual knowledge, she just gained

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