Conceptual mastery and the knowledge argument

Gabriel Rabin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    According to Frank Jackson's famous knowledge argument, Mary, a brilliant neuroscientist raised in a black and white room and bestowed with complete physical knowledge, cannot know certain truths about phenomenal experience. This claim about knowledge, in turn, implies that physicalism is false. I argue that the knowledge argument founders on a dilemma. Either (i) Mary cannot know the relevant experiential truths because of trivial obstacles that have no bearing on the truth of physicalism or (ii) once the obstacles have been removed, Mary can know the relevant truths. If we give Mary the epistemological capabilities necessary to draw metaphysical conclusions about physicalism, she will, while trapped in the black and white room, be able to know every truth about phenomenal experience.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)125-147
    Number of pages23
    JournalPhilosophical Studies
    Volume154
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 1 2011

    Fingerprint

    Mastery
    Knowledge Argument
    Physicalism
    White Room
    Physical
    Frank Jackson
    Epistemological
    Metaphysical

    Keywords

    • Concept possession
    • Concepts
    • Conceptual mastery
    • Consciousness
    • Dualism
    • Knowledge argument
    • Modal rationalism
    • Phenomenal concept
    • Phenomenal concept strategy
    • Phenomenal experience
    • Physicalism

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Philosophy

    Cite this

    Conceptual mastery and the knowledge argument. / Rabin, Gabriel.

    In: Philosophical Studies, Vol. 154, No. 1, 01.05.2011, p. 125-147.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Rabin, Gabriel. / Conceptual mastery and the knowledge argument. In: Philosophical Studies. 2011 ; Vol. 154, No. 1. pp. 125-147.
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