What RoboMary Knows

Daniel Dennett

in Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780195171655
Published online January 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199871339 | DOI:

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

  What RoboMary Knows

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This chapter further develops a line of argument Daniel Dennett presented in his 1991 book, Consciousness Explained, where he argued that we should reject the intuition that Mary gains knowledge when she leaves the room. In his view, this intuition derives from a failure to appreciate the implications of knowing all the physical facts. Dennet gives a more detailed account of his case. Specifically, he (1) criticizes attempts to defend the intuition; (2) devises variations on the Mary case to illustrate how a deduction from physical information of what it's like to see in color might actually proceed; and (3) defends his arguments against objections. He affirmatively answers the question: could a proper understanding of phenomenal concepts/knowledge show that there is or is not an epistemic gap? He argues that a proper understanding of phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge helps to show that there is no epistemic gap.

Keywords: intuition; Mary; deduction; phenomenal concepts; phenomenal knowledge; epistemic gap

Chapter.  9186 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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