Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

Grounding physicalism and the knowledge argument

19 October 2022  |  15:00  |  Seminari de Filosofia UB


The knowledge argument is one of several major arguments against physicalism - construed here as the thesis that all facts are physical facts. It turns on two main premises: (1) that in her black and white room, Mary could know all of the physical facts, but that (2) upon seeing red for the first time, Mary would learn a new fact. Together, the claims imply that Mary learns a new non-physical fact and hence that physicalism is false. While there is much disagreement in the literature about the Mary argument, commentators tend to agree that physicalists must accept (1) and push back by denying (2). This paper, however, explores the options for denying (2) within a physicalist framework. In particular, the paper explores this option within the framework of a form of physicalism cast in terms of metaphysical grounding.