Philosophical Studies

, Volume 148, Issue 2, pp 231–247 | Cite as

Swamp Mary’s revenge: deviant phenomenal knowledge and physicalism



Deviant phenomenal knowledge is knowing what it’s like to have experiences of, e.g., red without actually having had experiences of red. Such a knower is a deviant. Some physicalists have argued and some anti-physicalists have denied that the possibility of deviants undermines anti-physicalism and the Knowledge Argument. The current paper presents new arguments defending the deviant-based attacks on anti-physicalism. Central to my arguments are considerations concerning the psychosemantic underpinnings of deviant phenomenal knowledge. I argue that physicalists are in a superior position to account for the conditions in virtue of which states of deviants constitute representations of phenomenal facts.


Phenomenal knowledge Physicalism Knowledge argument Psychosemantics 



For especially useful comments on earlier versions and precursors, I thank Torin Alter, David Chalmers, Josh Weisberg, and an anonymous reviewer. I’m also grateful for discussions with Patricia Churchland, Paul Churchland, Paula Droege, Brian Fiala, Ellen Fridland, Chris Gauker, Uriah Kriegel, Eric Schwitzgebel, John Martin, Tom Polger, William Robinson, William Seager, Ben Young, and audiences of presentations at the University of Cincinnati Philosophy Colloquium on the Churchlands and the 2008 meeting of Toward a Science of Consciousness in Tucson, Arizona.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.William Paterson UniversityWayneUSA

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