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Our Knowledge of the Internal World$
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Robert C. Stalnaker

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545995

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545995.001.0001

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Epistemic Possibilities and the Knowledge Argument

Epistemic Possibilities and the Knowledge Argument

(p.24) 2 Epistemic Possibilities and the Knowledge Argument
Our Knowledge of the Internal World

Robert C. Stalnaker (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews a range of responses to Frank Jackson's knowledge argument against materialism with the aim of shedding some light on the lesson that should be drawn from the thought experiment that is used in the argument. It is argued that it helps to sharpen the problem to characterize the information that Mary (who is theoretically knowledgeable about color, but has no visual experience of color) lacks in terms of the possibilities compatible with her knowledge. The Fregean response to the problem that tries to explain the information in terms of senses or concepts is criticized, as is the ability response that rejects the assumption that it is information of any kind that Mary lacks. The chapter concludes with a discussion of John Perry's use of the analogy between self-locating information and phenomenal information, arguing that this response to the problem is on the right track, but that it requires a different account of self-locating information than the one provided by Perry.

Keywords:   knowledge argument, materialism, concept, phenomenal information, self-locating information, John Perry

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