So This Is What It's Like

Laurence Nemirow

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

  So This Is What It's Like

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This chapter focuses on the objective grounds for and against the ability hypothesis (AH), which was developed as a response to the Knowledge Argument (KA) — a purported proof of the existence of “phenomenal information”. It argues that while KA capitalizes on the mysticism inspired by “So this is what it's like” and embraces the existence of propositional knowledge that cannot be put into words, AH provides a more worldly account that explains both the cognitive role of knowing what it's like and its essential connection with firsthand experience. This approach engenders almost religious objection. But the test of a philosophical theory is not the fervor of the criticism it engenders, but the strength of the available rejoinders; and AH proves to be reasonably resilient to assault.

Keywords: epistemic gap; Mary; color; learning; ability hypothesis; knowledge argument

Chapter.  10414 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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