Acta Analytica

, Volume 19, Issue 32, pp 143–152 | Cite as

Qualia and phenomenal concepts as basis of the knowledge argument

  • Martina Fürst
Philosophy Of Mind


The central attempt of this paper is to explain the underlying intuitions of Frank Jackson’s “Knowledge Argument” that the epistemic gap between phenomenal knowledge and physical knowledge points towards a corresponding ontological gap. The first step of my analysis is the claim that qualia are epistemically special because the acquisition of the phenomenal concept of a quale x requires the experience of x. Arguing what is so special about phenomenal concepts and pointing at the inherence-relation with the qualia they pick out, I give compelling reasons for the existence of ontologically distinct entities. Finally I conclude that phenomenal knowledge is caused by phenomenal properties and the instantiation of these properties is a specific phenomenal fact, which can not be mediated by any form of descriptive information. So it will be shown that phenomenal knowledge must count as the possession of very special information necessarily couched in subjective, phenomenal conceptions.


qualia knowledge argument epistemic gap concepts acquaintance 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Fürst
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Philosophie der Geisteswissenschaftlichen FakultätKarl-Franzens-Universität GrazGrazAustria

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