Volume 44, 2019
What Gary Couldn’t Imagine
In this paper, I propose and defend an antiphysicalist argument, namely, the imagination argument, which draws inspiration from Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument, or rather its misinterpretation by Daniel Dennett and Paul Churchland. They interpret the knowledge argument to be about the ability to imagine a novel experience, which Jackson explicitly denies. The imagination argument is the following. Let Q be a visual phenomenal quality that is imaginable based on one’s phenomenal experience. (1) It is not possible to imagine Q solely based on complete physical knowledge. (2) If it is not possible to imagine Q solely based on complete physical knowledge, then physicalism is false. (3) Therefore, physicalism is false. Even though objections have been raised to this argument in the literature, there is, as far as I know, no explicit defense of it. I argue that the imagination argument is more plausible than the knowledge argument in some respects and less plausible in others. All things considered, it is at least as interesting and serious a challenge to physicalism as the knowledge argument is.