The Knowledge Argument, Diaphanousness, Representationalism

Frank Jackson

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

  The Knowledge Argument, Diaphanousness, Representationalism

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This chapter develops a representationalist view about perceptual experience and defends its application to the knowledge argument. This view is based partly on the idea that perceptual experience is diaphanous — in other words, that accessing the nature of the experience itself is nothing other than accessing the properties of its object. It is argued that although the diaphanousness thesis alone does not entail representationalism, the thesis supports an inference from a weaker to a stronger version of representationalism. On the weak version, perceptual experience is essentially representational. On the strong version, how an experience represents things as being exhausts its experiential nature. Strong representationalism undermines the claim that Mary learns new truths when she leaves the room.

Keywords: perceptual experience; knowledge argument; Mary; intuition; diaphanousness

Chapter.  6597 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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