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Dramatic Simplicity™ & The Colorblind Neuroscientist


Via Frank Jackson in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Mary is a brilliant scientist who is forced to investigate the world from a black & white monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires all the physical information there is to explain why a person will describe a tomato as “red” or the sky as “blue.” She discovers just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, triggering the central nervous system to contract the vocal chords and expel air from the lungs to utter the sentence, “The sky is blue”…What will happen when Mary is released from her black & white room or is given a color monitor? Will she learn anything…or not? Lesson here is always keep your color swatch book handy.

Nida-Rümelin, Martine, "Qualia: The Knowledge Argument", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2015/entries/qualia-knowledge/.