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Gertler, Brie, , . The Knowledge Argument
2005, In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. MacMillan.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: The definitive statement of the Knowledge Argument was formulated by Frank Jackson, in a paper entitled ‘Epiphenomenal Qualia’ that appeared in The Philosophical Quarterly in 1982. Arguments in the same spirit had appeared earlier (Broad 1925, Robinson 1982), but Jackson’s argument is most often compared with Thomas Nagel’s argument in ‘What is it Like to be a Bat?’ (1974). Jackson, however, takes pains to distinguish his argument from Nagel’s. This entry will follow standard practice in focusing on Jackson’s argument, though I will also describe the main points of alleged similarity and dissimilarity between these two arguments.

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Levin, Janet, , . Could love be like a heatwave?: Physicalism and the subjective character of experience
1986, Philosophical Studies 49 (March):245-61.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: We expect there to be a connection between experience and knowledge in many of our ordinary epistemic judgments; this expectation is by no means confined to our knowledge of mental states. Thus, the appeal to a special necessary connection between experience and knowledge of mental states ignores the generality of this phenomenon. More important, however, it takes this phenomenon too seriously: our unreflective expectations about the previous experiences of a person who has knowledge, as I have argued, have little to do with whether these experiences are necessary for knowledge of that sort. Thus, they provide no threat to physicalism, or any other objective theory of mental states. To be sure, it is not hard to see why reductionist theses in the philosophy of mind raise suspicion, as they have often ignored the complexity of our mental lives. In this case, however, the suspicion leads to unwarranted fears about Procrusteans under the bed: it is not the insufficiencies of objectivity, but the vestiges of Empiricism, that suggest that these theories may be inadequate for expressing all the truth about experience that there is.

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Nagasawa, Yujin, , . God and Phenomenal Consciousness: A Novel Approach to Knowledge Arguments
2008, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Tyron Goldschmidt

Publisher’s Note: In God and Phenomenal Consciousness, Yujin Nagasawa bridges debates in two distinct areas of philosophy: the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of religion. First, he introduces some of the most powerful arguments against the existence of God and provides objections to them. He then presents a parallel structure between these arguments and influential arguments offered by Thomas Nagel and Frank Jackson against the physicalist approach to phenomenal consciousness. By appealing to this structure, Nagasawa constructs novel objections to Jackson’s and Nagel’s arguments. Finally, he derives, from the failure of these arguments, a unique metaphysical thesis, which he calls ‘non-theoretical physicalism’. Through this thesis, he shows that although this world is entirely physical, there are physical facts that cannot be captured even by complete theories of the physical sciences.

Comment: Fitting for courses on Philosophy of Religion or Philosophy of Mind
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Nida-Rumelin, Martine, , . Qualia: The Knowledge Argument
2002, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Nora Heinzelmann

Abstract: The knowledge argument aims to establish that conscious experience involves non-physical properties. It rests on the idea that someone who has complete physical knowledge about another conscious being might yet lack knowledge about how it feels to have the experiences of that being. It is one of the most discussed arguments against physicalism.

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Nida-Rumelin, Martine, , . What Mary couldn’t know: Belief about phenomenal states
1995, In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience. Ferdinand Schoningh. pp. 219–41.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Nora Heinzelmann

Introduction: Everyone familiar with the current mind-body debate has probably heard about Frank Jackson’s neurophysiologist Mary. So I tell her story very briefly. Mary knows everything there is to know about the neurophysiological basis of human colour vision but she never saw colours herself (she always lived in a black-and-white environment). When Mary is finally released into the beauty of the coloured world, she acquires new knowledge about the world and – more specifically – about the character of the visual experiences of others. This appears clear at first sight. In the ongoing philosophical debate, however, there is no agreement about whether Mary really gains new knowledge and about whether this would, if it were so, represent a problem for physicalism. Those who defend the so-called argument from knowledge (or ‘knowledge argument’) think that it does.

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