This essay portrays that knowledge indeed comes from the experiences that the individuals go through in the daily activities. Besides, there is an exploration of the phenomenon of qualia in support to the acquisition of knowledge through experience.
Importantly, it is relevant to the learning of the critical form of acquisition of knowledge by every individual. In his journal, Jackson presents a character Mary who is only exposed to the black and white television and learns everything she can on neurophysiology but everything like the books she uses, chemistry, and physics in black and white (Jackson 294). Notably, Mary seems not to know everything that an individual may perceive since when she is left to get access to the world out of the black and white confinement, she would learn about colors because of the experience that she gets from seeing the different colors that she could not see in the isolation. The literature that is on qualia is full of the thought-experiments that are of either one sort or another. Conceivably, the most illustrious of these experiments is the case of Mary, the very brilliant scientist who studied color (Haleblian 128). Mary, is caged in a black and white room. Never having been allowed to leave it, she obtains the information about the world outside from the black and white books her captors have availed to her, from the black and white television that is attached to outside cameras, and also from the black and white monitor screens that are hooked up to the different banks of computers.
Mary acquires more of the information that is about the color vision and the physical aspects of color with time. Eventually, she befits the world’s prominent authority on the matters of color experiences. Indeed, she possesses a lot of the information about the physical facts apposite to common color vision and colors.Nonetheless, she still wonders to herself about the experience of the people in the outside world on the various colors (Tressoldi 202). She also wonders what it feels like when one sees the different colors. The captors then release her, and she sees the various things with their real colors.
She gets the opportunity to look at the flowers with different colors and experiences how it feels to see the red flower or the other colors. Mary hence makes some significant discoveries of things that she did not know before. Although she has all the physical information that one may obtain about the color vision and even color, it is exact that the experience that she gets by seeing the different colors offers Mary an additional knowledge on the physical facts (Loar 115).
One possible explanation that may be given is that there is phenomenal qualities that are associated with color, a realm of subjective, and qualities of the intrinsic nature that Mary is only able to discover when she is released and as she undergoes the numerous new color experiences. When confined, she only possessed the information of physical basis of the subjective qualities, the objective, their effects and causes, and various relations of difference and similarity. In fact, she lacked the knowledge of the subjective qualities in themselves. Various objections are aligned with the experience being seen as the source of knowledge. For instance, it is argued that the statement itself is that of empiricism and hence leads to skepticism (Jackson 294). The argument proceeds that the sense of experience is very unreliable and cannot give a genuine knowledge of the environment or the world at large. Another objection provides that one may gain knowledge through reason and that the knowledge of the substantive truths does not solely depend on the sense of experience but reason. For instance, a priori argument may affirm the existence of God like the trademark argument that states that nothing can ever be caused by another thing with less perfection compared to itself.
The third objection is based on some of the synthetic apriori truths like that of mathematics. Contrary to the objections, qualia portray both the qualitative and subjective experiences. Lewis introduced qualia to show the properties of sense-data or the properties of experience. For example, there is an experiential difference in what it feels like to glace at a red rose and what it feels to glancing at an another rose with a different color. Similarly, one experiences a different feeling when listening to musical note from a piano, and that played guitar. Hence the qualia of such experiences give out the characteristic of feeling (Tressoldi 202). The examples of the experience that display qualia include the perceptual experiences and the bodily sensations which leads to one’s acquisition of knowledge in the environment.
In the thought experiment of Mary, it is clear that before her release from where she had been confined, she had learned all the physical information that was related to color experiences of the other people. Also, after she was released, it is evident that she learned something a new thing about the experiences of the individuals of color (Loar 115). For that reason, we can confirm that Mary did not have all the information that exists about the other people’s color experiences although she had learned so much about the physical information. Mary’s exposure to the other people’s environment led to her experience of the red color that made her learn more about the physical information of the experiences of people.Notably, Jackson’s argument about knowledge is not based on the claim that logically one cannot imagine anything that he has never come across.
In fact, it is not based on the powers of imagination. Another thing that the author does not apply in his argument is the intentionality of the knowledge (Tressoldi 202). There are no false assumptions rather; the concern is about Mary’s body of knowledge in totality before she experiences the outside world that is not just in black and white. Besides, in as much as Mary had learned all the information she might have thought on neurophysiology, it is important to note that she lacked the critical knowledge that was about the experiences of others. For instance, if she had not come out of the black and white confinement, she could not have known the facts about the experiences with the colors since there were no facts like these where she was before the release (Haleblian 128). Therefore, there is the problem of physicalism because in as much as Mary knew all the physical facts in her studying while confined, she had not experienced the element of color and that happens when she is released. Several other views posit the acquisition of knowledge through experience. Firstly, the theory of evolutionary tends to commit us to the idea that innate things in us are shaped by the experience, and that includes knowledge (Kitimbo, Irene and Kimiz 65).
In the case of evolution, the experience is based on the species. However, the same may be applied to the experiences of an individual and how it helps acquire knowledge. Secondly, in the view of Plato’s definition of knowledge as the justified true belief, the beliefs can only be warranted by the experience that may cause intuition and deduction to an individual. Precisely, knowledge can neither be properly inferred nor even deduced without the derivation from the individual’s sense-based experience. On the other hand, Locke also reasoned that the human mind is blank when born and is only filled with the experiences that the person derives from the sense of impressions in the process of growth. Markedly, there are two sources of the experience that include the reflection and sensation, and both contain the distinction between the complex and the simple ideas. Pointedly, the very need for the application of both experimentation and observation is the plausible scientific data that significantly back up the acquisition of knowledge about the things that are around us through experience.
Another famous thought-experiment regarding qualia entreaties to the possibility of the zombies. A philosophical zombie is said to be a duplicate of a sentient creature that occurs molecule by molecule. An example is a normal human-being who tends to differs from that creature because of not possessing a certain phenomenal consciousness. As a person lies on the beach while watching the waves and happily drinking, the person undergoes a variety of visual, gustatory, and olfactory experiences (Tressoldi 202). On the flip side, the zombie twin in the same environment may experience nothing at all due to the lack of phenomenal consciousness. Since the zombie twin is a physical duplicate of a complete person, the inner psychological states tend to be isomorphic regarding function with the person. When any physical stimulus is applied, the zombie processes the stimulus in the very same way done by the complete being, and produces the same behavioral responses. Certainly, on the supposition that the non-phenomenal psychological circumstances are functional situations, the zombie twin possess just the same thoughts, beliefs, and desires as the person does.
He only differs from the person concerning the experience because the zombie feels nothing when staring at a wave or drinking (Kitimbo, Irene and Kimiz 65). This hypothesis of the existence of zombies is not ordinarily the hypothesis that the zombies are logically possible, and that they have a harmonious existence with the concrete laws of nature. Rather, the proposal is that zombie duplications of this kind can be imagined hence are possible metaphysically. Therefore, the difference between a complete person and a zombie is the ability of the former to experience things and attain knowledge from experience. It is an affirmation that knowledge is acquired through experiencing the environment and that is why although the zombie reacts the same way as the person when exposed to a stimulus, the former is incapable of gaining knowledge because it neither feels how it is like to do something nor experience anything.In conclusion, the above evaluation of the qualia and the experimental examples of Mary and the philosophical existence of the zombies that are slightly different from the human beings portray that knowledge can be acquired from a person’s interaction, experimentation and the evaluation of the environment that leads to the gain of experience.
Besides, the contradictions are also true since there are innate knowledge and those that may be realized through reason.