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There's Something About Mary: Essays on Phenomenal Consciousness and Frank Jackson's Knowledge Argument Paperback – November 19, 2004

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262621892 ISBN-10: 0262621894 Edition: 0th

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Ludlow, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, is the author of Semantics, Tense, and Time: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Natural Language (MIT Press, 1999), among other books, and the editor of Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias (MIT Press, 2001) and High Noon on the Electronic Frontier (MIT Press, 1996).

Yujin Nagasawa is Research Fellow at the Australian National University and Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta.

Daniel Stoljar is Senior Fellow at the Australian National University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 484 pages
  • Publisher: A Bradford Book (November 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262621894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262621892
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,531,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Yujin Nagasawa is Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the John Hick Centre for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Birmingham in the UK. He is author of The Existence of God (Routledge, 2011) and God and Phenomenal Consciousness (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and editor/co-editor of three books: There's Something About Mary: Essays on Phenomenal Consciousness and Frank Jackson's Knowledge Argument (MIT Press, 2004), New Waves in Philosophy of Religion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), and Scientific Approaches to Philosophy of Religion (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming). He was awarded the Philosophical Quarterly Essay Prize in 2007 and the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise in 2008. Yujin Nagasawa's website: http://www.yujinnagasawa.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul G. Joseph on June 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
While the book does a great job of collecting the views of the major current philosophers on this topic, it didn't address possibly what to me is the most interesting paper to date on this subject. I speak of the 1998 paper by V. S. Ramachandran and William Hirstein--"Three Laws of Qualia: What Neurology Tells Us about the Biological Functions of Consciousness, Qualia and the Self."

In this paper the authors pose a convincing explanation for the knowledge problem. They argue that the epistemological barrier is only apparent, is essentially one of language, and the experience itself is lost in the translation. They imply that Mary never had all the physical facts as her brain never went into that configuration of neurons that mean the person is experiencing or seeing the color red, and that had Mary had available to her a "neuron bridge" through which this purely physical configuration was made available to her, only then could we reasonable say she had all the physical facts known to her. In other words, an important physical fact of the color red for a human includes the way the neurons in our brain configure on seeing red.

The omission of this paper and also of any discussion of this paper, which was published in a very well known journal, about six years before the date of publication of this book, is a surprising, puzzling, and serious omission. For this reason I only give this book three stars--many of the papers are rendered moot in my opinion as they fail to account for the very understandable, commonsense concept above, proposed by Ramachandran and Hisrstein. All the papers in the volume are authored exclusively by philosophers and in this day and age, this kind of silofication on a topic, particularly in the cognitive sciences, should be a thing of the past.
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By Joshua Tauberer on October 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Extremely thorough but also readable review of thought experiment about Mary in the black-and-white room.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. D. Walls on April 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book contains thoughtful essays that critique Frank Jackson's story about Mary. The selections offered what seemed to my unprofessional viewpoint to be wide-ranging and comprehensive. I thought Frank Jackson's own commentaries were among the most readable and penetrating. Excepting Jackson and maybe one or two others, the various authors, all professional philosophers, seem helpless when offered opportunities to use big words when small ones would serve. Did they want to be understood, or admired at a distance by lesser beings? If I were grading the essays, writers in the habit of using words greater than 6 syllables would be encouraged to revise their sentences. Or hanged.
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