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Physicalism: What Mary Didn’t Know And Possibly

1167 words - 5 pages

When one can see the color red, there is no doubt as to what is being viewed. The question to ask is what is that ability attributed to? This is the concept that surrounds the heated debate over physicalism and non-physicalism. Both Frank Jackson and David Lewis claim to have knowledge on the issue, albeit opposing knowledge. Frank Jackson stands on the non-physicalist side, while David Lewis stands on the physicalist side. While there is much to be said on the topic, I will solely discuss and evaluate both positions.Though his view has since changed, for the sake of this paper we will focus on Frank Jackson's argument that life is based on more than mere physical fact. He claims life is ...view middle of the document...

When she would see red, she wouldn't claim that she could have worked out the experience through some scientific logic. His final clarification is on that according to his argument, Mary would not lack her own knowledge of red, but the knowledge on red of others. Upon experiencing red, she would realize how the rest of this world has been experiencing red all along, how differently we experience it, and how lacking her knowledge has been all along.According to David Lewis, whose arguments will be presented in more detail later in the paper, Mary does not gain knowledge, but rather gains an imaginative ability. She knows all of the experiences prior to leaving but upon leaving gains the ability to exercise that knowledge. Jackson contends that there remains more to the experience than just gained imaginative abilities. She would not only be able to imagine red, recognize red , and understand others sympathy for her lack of experience with red, but also the knowledge and experience of others, simply by negating skepticism. Jackson confesses that he has no proof that Mary acquires knowledge in addition to abilities. He claims this argument is plausible on the basis that it is logical through highly plausible premises that conclude physicalism is false.Jackson's continues by displaying that there is nothing in the knowledge argument that objects anything in dualism. For the knowledge argument to object to dualism would require Mary to have learned all of dualism through lectures. Unfortunately, Jackson explains that the latter is impossible, on the basis that for all of dualism to be learned through lectures would require the learning of all of qualia through these lectures. Unfortunately, qualia is something that has to be experienced first hand to be understood. By this reasoning, Mary would have to have learned all of qualia through lecture, which is impossible, meaning that nothing in the knowledge argument refutes dualism.Jackson's final point emphasizes the fact that the knowledge argument contends that Mary could not know what the relevant experience is like. Imagination is a separate thing all in itself. In the end, Mary's knowledge would still be defective, rendering the physicalist story false, regardless of her imaginations infinite power.Lewis on the other hand, purely a physicalist,...

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