Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

11 - Phenomenal Knowledge Why: The Explanatory Knowledge Argument against Physicalism


Phenomenal knowledge is knowledge of what it is like to be in conscious states, such as seeing red or being in pain. According to the knowledge argument (Jackson 1982, 1986), phenomenal knowledge is knowledge that, i.e., knowledge of phenomenal facts. According to the ability hypothesis (Nemirow 1979; Lewis 1983a), phenomenal knowledge is mere practical knowledge how, i.e., the mere possession of abilities. However, some phenomenal knowledge also seems to be knowledge why, i.e., knowledge of explanatory facts. For example, someone who has just experienced pain for the first time learns not only that this is what pain is like, but also why people tend to avoid it.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO