Frank Jackson () formulates the intuition underlying his Jackson, F., , “Epiphenomenal Qualia”, Philosophical Quarterly Epiphenomenalism is the view that mental events are caused by physical Jackson, F. () “Epiphenomenal Qualia”, The Philosophical. The knowledge argument is a philosophical thought experiment proposed by Frank Jackson in his article “Epiphenomenal Qualia” () and extended in ” What.

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Frank Jackson, Epiphenomenal qualia – PhilPapers

If pleasure and displeasure have no effects, there would seem to be no reason why we might not abhor the feelings that are caused by activities essential to life, or enjoy the feelings produced by what is detrimental. How We Know Our Minds: Views Read Edit View history. Some authors have raised doubts about the thought experiment itself.

Lewis and Nemirow presuppose that Mary’s epistemic progress after release consists in the acquisition of knowing what it is like e. To avoid that, a nonphysical, efficacious self would not be sufficient: Another kind of criticism of the Acquaintance Hypothesis is developed in Gertler But a property can be selected for only if it has an effect upon organisms’ behavior.

But then, it is at least tempting to conclude that it cannot be the intentional character of S’s belief that is causing the extension of S’s arm toward the glass. Lewis’s main argument for the Ability Hypothesis can be summarized like this.

Knowledge argument

Her story takes place in the future, when all physical facts have been discovered. But we have insight into why it is that a given configuration of parts, surrounded epiphejomenal a certain kind of system, is necessarily a pump.


An alternative response can be found in Chalmers ; see also Nagasawa, Conee’s acquaintance hypothesis identifies a third category of knowledge, “knowledge by acquaintance of an experience,” that is not reducible to factual knowledge nor to knowing-how. The coherence of the notion of the physical: Once these two steps are clearly distinguished one may conclude that Marianna’s relevant epistemic progress at t 3 and Mary’s relevant progress after release is not happily described by talk of knowing what it’s like.

One might have epphenomenal that this position would have put an end to the need to investigate epiphenomenalism; but, as we shall see under Arguments in the Age of Materialism, such a supposition is far from being the case.

Mental events will be identical with some of these neural events; so whatever effects these neural events have will be effects of mental events, and mental events will make a causal contribution to, i.

Epiphenomenalists will wish to point out that P3 does not have any property that contains information as to how it was caused. For a full statement of this argument, and several others concerning epiphenomenalism, see Chalmers, At t 2Marianna may wonder which of four slides a red, a blue, a green and a yellow slide appears to her in the color normal people experience when looking at the cloudless sky.

Mary cannot deduce certain phenomenal truths from the complete physical truth only because she lacks the relevant concepts, such as the concept of phenomenal jacksom. Chalmers considers responses along the lines of the “ability hypothesis” objection described above to be the most promising objections, but unsuccessful: But she spends her life in a black-and-white room and has no color experiences.


It should be noted that most recent writers take a somewhat dogmatic position against epiphenomenalism. Therefore, consciousness both qualia and intentional states must have effects in behavior, i.

It would be like being in physical state S kand Mary knows all about such physical states. I encourage you all stand firm in defence of physicalism and save the universe from messy epiphenomenal qualia fairy entities and things.


By contrast, many contemporary discussions work within a background assumption of the preferability of materialist monism. Questions about epiphenomenalism, however, arise the moment any distinction is made between the mental properties and the physical properties of an event.

One may respond along the following lines: Since both a events and b events have neural and, ultimately, behavioral effects, they can be selected for, and so can their combination. But here physicalists have a natural, obvious response: The latter restricts entry to subscribers.

Formulated in this way, the view may appear similar to Conee’s acquaintance account. These are the qualiaa that: Denis Robinson raises the possibility that Lewis’s argument can be extended to produce a far-reaching and puzzling result.

The subset view is the subject of lively debate; see, e.