Concept

Knowledge argument

Summary
The knowledge argument (also known as Mary's Room or Mary the super-scientist) is a philosophical thought experiment proposed by Frank Jackson in his article "Epiphenomenal Qualia" (1982) and extended in "What Mary Didn't Know" (1986). The experiment describes Mary, a scientist who exists in a black-and-white world where she has extensive access to physical descriptions of color, but no actual perceptual experience of color. Mary has learned everything there is to learn about color, but she has never actually experienced it for herself. The central question of the thought experiment is whether Mary will gain new knowledge when she goes outside the colorless world and experiences seeing in color. The experiment is intended to argue against physicalism—the view that the universe, including all that is mental, is entirely physical. The debate that emerged following its publication became the subject of an edited volume—There's Something About Mary (2004)—which includes replies from su
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