The Thought Experiment & the Accompanying Knowledge Argument

Subject: Philosophy
Pages: 2
Words: 344
Reading time:
2 min

Philosophy has many concepts that explain the nature of the world, human, and universal processes. At the same time, many theories are opposed to each other, since philosophers have different views on things that can be applied and appropriate from different perspectives. The ideas of physicalism and the Knowledge Argument also explain in different ways the nature of human perception and knowledge; however, they do not entirely refute each other because they cannot be verified in practice.

The Thought Experiment and the Knowledge Argument were designed to refute the theory of physicalism. The idea of physicalism states that everything, phenomenon, feeling, and mental state has a physical explanation. The Thought Experiment is a way to refute this theory as it is based on the assumption that physical description and explanation cannot fully reflect a person’s perception or feelings.

This experiment tells about a hypothetical Mary, who knows everything about the physical side of color vision and the biological mechanisms that provide it; however, she lives in a black and white room. Therefore, the experiment’s question and assumption are whether Mary will gain new knowledge about color vision if she sees a red apple for the first time in her life. If the answer to this question is yes, and Mary gains new knowledge through the experience of color perception, the experiment refutes the theory of physicalism.

This experiment also describes the concept of the Knowledge Argument, which states that there are non-physical properties that can only be gained through conscious experience. Nevertheless, this concept does not refute physicalism theory but does not confirm it either, since the experiment does not have an unambiguous answer. In other words, scientists do not know if Mary gained knowledge about color vision through the experience of color perception or if this event did not bring her anything new. Therefore, the Though Experiment does not refute the theory of physicalism but gives a different perspective on philosophy and knowledge about human understanding of the universe.