Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk, István Aranyosi (Bilkent), “Description, acquaintance, and the a posteriori physicalist response to the Knowledge Argument”

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Bogazici University

5pm, Monday, March 30

TB 130 (Anderson Hall)


One of the popular physicalist responses to the Knowledge Argument (KA) is based on

the idea that knowledge is opaque, hence, according to this response the argument fails

to establish anything about ontology. Rather, what it does establish is that propositions

containing exclusively physical and functional concepts do not a priori entail propositions

that contain phenomenal concepts. Defenders of KA, while acknowledging that

knowledge is opaque, have replied by pointing out that the physicalist have merely

shifted the focus of the problem. KA can be applied to the new items brought in by the

physicalist, such as: the property of having phenomenal concepts, the fact that there

are phenomenal modes of presentation, or that there is a knowing relation to physical

properties involving phenomenal content. All these are not entailed by the totality of

descriptive, physical truths, hence, physicalism is still false.

I will show, based on some ideas related to the difference between knowledge by

acquaintance and knowledge by description, that the concession made by defenders

of KA to the effect that the argument establishes at most the existence of phenomenal

concepts or phenomenal modes of presentations of physical properties leads to the demise

of KA. Yet, if the concession is not made, then KA is begging the question.


Written by markedwardsteen

March 20, 2015 at 11:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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